An overview of requirements for the crash protection of older drivers

For some time now, it has been recognised that a major shift is occurring in the population age distributions of most motorised countries resulting in a growing number of older persons with an increasing need for mobility. It is expected that the mobility of older persons will become even more reliant on the motor vehicle as European countries in particular undergo transitions towards decentralisation and suburbanisation and because of the well-established longevity factor. As a group, older drivers do not currently represent a major road safety problem in most Western societies when compared with other age groups such as the young. However, they are involved in significantly more serious injury and casualty crashes per head of population. Furthermore, as older drivers are likely to become a more significant problem in the years ahead, it is now necessary to examine some vehicle design factors that affect the safety of the older driver in a crash.