Ingenieur Vol. 74 Ingenieur Vol 72, April-June 2018 - Page 33

Why Older Drivers are a Risk Group T echnology and economic development have led to an increased use of vehicles and this has a significant impact on road safety. According to statistics from the official portal of the Malaysia Road Transport Department, the accident rate increased from 414,421 cases in 2010 to a record 489,606 cases in 2015. These statistics are worrying and indicate that people should be more aware of road safety. This article will discuss whether an older driver is part of the at-risk group in contributing to road accident statistics. As we can see from the Road Accident Statistics Malaysia issued by Polis Diraja Malaysia (PDRM) in 2015, a total of 1,610 accident cases involved people aged 66 years and older. This data shows that the number of road accidents involving older drivers is a cause for concern. Some countries have been studying factors behind older drivers and road accidents. Unfortunately no studies about older drivers have been conducted in Malaysia. In 2015, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) defined older drivers as drivers aged 65 years and above. The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has found that compared to drivers aged 55 till 64, drivers over the age 65 are almost twice as likely to die in car crashes. The probability increased by two and a half times for those over the age of 75, and four times for those aged 85 and older. By Intan Nadzirah Mohd Munir Malaysian Institute Of Road Safety Research (MIROS) One study was conducted to investigate the road crossing behaviour of both older and younger pedestrians to determine whether the older group is more at risk than younger adult pedestrians. The number of determinants for safe road crossing action pedestrian behaviour was scored and the significant differences were observed. The results found that older pedestrian road crossing behaviour in busy traffic situations are more dangerous, compared to younger pedestrians (Oxley, 1999). Older Drivers and Road Accidents Nowadays, older drivers who still work need to use cars to facilitate their movement to their workplace, and single older drivers often need to be self-reliant. This shows that they are at risk to be involved in road accidents. NIHSenior Health has found that when people get older, their driving patterns will change. Most older adults drive safely because of the experience they have and if one of them is involved in an accident, they are often injured more seriously than younger drivers because of their state of health. The common reasons that affect older drives’ driving are changes in driving habits because of retirement, common mistakes, complex tasks and driving errors. 31