70+ Year Old Drivers Safest

Updated: Thu 5:08 PM, Feb 20, 2014

SPARKS, NV - 76-year-old Lada Trimble teaches watercolor to senior citizens at the Sparks Senior Center, as well as the senior centers in Carson City and Gardnerville.

Several times a week, she travels north or south more than 30 miles from her home, but she says she uses common sense before every stepping on the gas.

“Winter I have a 4-wheel drive and I'm not afraid to drive in the snow, and so if they can make it here, so can I, and if my car doesn't make it, which is a Honda, I can take my husband's one-ton truck,” says Trimble.

Trimble says she's taken AARP driving classes to help her understand and compensate for how her driving has changed over the years.

She's adjusted her skills accordingly.

And apparently she's not alone.

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Drivers 70 years or older are less likely to be involved in crashes than previous generations, and less likely to be killed or seriously injured if they do crash.

The institute says vehicles are getting safer and seniors are generally healthier than in the past.

Seniors have also seen a bigger decline in fatal crashes when compared to drivers 35-54.

But the biggest rate of decline was in drivers 80 years or older.

Researchers say older drivers are putting more miles on their cars than they used to, but they are still driving fewer miles than middle-aged drivers.

It's estimated by 2050 the number of 70-year-old-plus drivers will reach 64-million, or about 16-percent of the population.

The institute says traffic fatalities in the U.S have declined to levels not seen since the late 1940s.