Older Drivers: Stay Safe Behind the Wheel

Image of a smiling older woman driving

In 2017, there were almost 44 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States.

Driving helps older adults stay mobile and independent. But the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as people age.

Thankfully, older adults can take steps to stay safe on the roads.

Facts About Older Adult Drivers
  • One in five drivers in the United States is 65 years or older.
  • Older adult drivers are more than twice as likely to report having a medical problem that makes it difficult to travel, compared with drivers aged 24-64.
  • Four in five older adults take one or more medications daily. Physical changes that occur with age can change the way the body reacts to medicines, causing more side effects and affecting the ability to concentrate and drive safely.
  • In 2017, almost 7,700 older adults (aged 65+) were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and more than 257,000 were treated in emergency departments for motor vehicle crash injuries. This means that each day, approximately 20 older adults are killed, and an additional 700 are injured in motor vehicle crashes.
Steps That Older Adults Can Take to Stay Safe on the Road
  • Always wear your seat belt and never drive impaired by alcohol or drugs/medicines.
  • Discuss any medical issues with your doctor to determine if they might affect your driving.
  • Discuss stopping or changing your medications with your pharmacist or doctor if you experience any side effects that could interfere with safe driving, such as blurry vision, dizziness, sleepiness, confusion, fatigue, and/or loss of consciousness.
  • Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year. Wear glasses and corrective lenses as directed.
  • Plan your route before you drive.
  • Drive during daylight and in good weather when possible.
  • Consider potential alternatives to driving, such as riding with a friend, using public transit, or using ride share services.
  • Download and use CDC’s MyMobility Plan for tips and resources to make a plan to stay mobile and independent as you age.

Image of a smiling older man driving a car

Use MyMobility Plan

Falls and motor vehicle crashes, which are related to mobility, are the two leading causes of injury and injury death for older adults.

Use MyMobility to help keep yourself—or your loved ones—safe, mobile, and independent.