It is common for families to hold onto older vehicles they became attached to, so they can pass them down to their children or other family members. This is a common practice all across the country to save money and preserve vehicles that proved to be reliable over many years.
However, according to a new study, this could place new and old drivers alike at an even greater risk.
Two age groups already face increased risk
As we have discussed in previous blog posts, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) identifies two age groups who face a particularly high risk of suffering serious or fatal injuries in a car accident. Those age groups include:
- Teenage drivers: Newly licensed drivers often face a higher risk due to inexperience behind the wheel, as well as a higher chance of getting distracted.
- Older drivers: People over 65 make up a large number of drivers on the road. Many of these drivers might face higher risks because of preexisting health conditions that make them vulnerable even in minor collisions. They might face a range of other issues as well that can impact their ability to drive as they age.
However, a recent study found that drivers in both of these age groups often have one risk factor in common.
Study: These age groups more likely to have unsafe vehicles
A study published in August determined that the actual vehicle individuals in these age groups drive could increase their risk as well. The study, using data collected between 2010 and 2017, determined that these two high-risk age groups were more likely to drive vehicles that:
- Were older, and without recent safety technology
- Did not have side or curtain airbags
- Lacked electronic stability control
Overall, the data found that the vehicles that many individuals in these age groups drove were generally not as safe as those in other age groups had.
Does a vehicle make that much of a difference?
The short answer is yes, the kind of vehicle one drives can make a difference in both the event of an accident and in their general safety on the road.
There is a reason that several organizations, from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to Consumer Reports and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), test and rate vehicles to determine their safety. The purpose of these tests is to inform drivers about a vehicle’s safety features and how well it will protect individuals in a crash.
Researching a vehicle’s safety rating is one important step that Georgia families can take to ensure that the most vulnerable drivers among them can stay safer behind the wheel.