Eugene Volokh argues here and here that the over-70 and over-80 drivers aren’t as dangerous as we think they are. Yes, they have far more crashes per mile driven–and far, far more fatal crashes–than other adults, but since they drive less than younger drivers, they don’t have any more accidents per driver.

Somehow, that’s not very comforting.

FILED UNDER: Law and the Courts,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Coop says:

    Seriously, they need to make new laws that require the elderly to actually take the full drivers test, not just the written part, we don’t care if they can memorize the booklet. We want to make sure that when their brain says BRAKE, their foot actually moves in less than 1 minute!! I think we’ll see more accidents as the baby boomers age.

  2. Meezer says:

    This is an area where personal reponsibility needs to step up. Will I enjoy taking my mother’s keys away (and driving her everywhere)? No. She’s a very independent woman and will take it hard. But how will I live with myself if I say, “It’s ok, she only goes to the hairdresser and the grocery these days” and she then kills a young mother with small children?

  3. Brett says:

    So, if I drive once in my life, but I plow over a busload of nuns on that one trip, and then refrain from driving for the next eight decades, I’m a safe driver for the purposes of this argument? There’s something wrong with the way this is cast, I’d say.

  4. James Joyner says:

    I’m with you on this on, Brett!

  5. John Lemon says:

    Yeah, but they drive really, really slow so they don’t smash as much.

    Now if we were really worried about crashes, I think we should take away Jerry Bruckheimer’s SAG card.

  6. John Lemon says:

    Actually, something doesn’t add up here. If they have more accidents per mile driven, yet don’t have any more accidents per driver that means that some of these drivers are getting in multiple accidents in their senior years. That means there is a concentration of really bad senior drivers.