Older drivers in rural and urban areas: Comparisons of crash, serious injury, and fatality rates
Previous analyses of crash statistics have indicated that older drivers (aged 65 years and older) have fewer crashes than other age groups. However, they have an elevated crash risk on a per kilometre driven basis and are at an increased risk of death and serious injury from crashes. Rural older drivers may be particularly at risk due to a greater dependence on driving, which may create a reluctance to cease driving. It is often demonstrated that motor vehicle crash fatality rates are higher in rural areas than urban areas. However, more research that compares the crash, serious injury, and fatality rates of rural and urban older drivers is required. A database of police-reported road crashes in South Australia, the Traffic Accident Reporting System, was used to obtain crash, serious injury, and fatality data for 2004 to 2008. The crash involvement of drivers of various age groups from both rural and urban areas was adjusted for population and licensure exposure measures. Crashes involving rural drivers aged 75 and over were more likely to have resulted in a serious or fatal injury than crashes involving their urban counterparts. The results indicate that rural older drivers present a unique road safety problem.