Statistics disprove some of the preconceptions about drivers aged 65 or older. Here are a few.
In 2020, 1,244,706 driver's licence holders were aged 65 or older, that is, 22% of all driver's licence holders. However, they only represented 12% of drivers involved in accidents resulting in bodily injuries.
From 2016 to 2020, each year, on average:
To compare, in 2020, drivers between the ages of 16 and 24 were involved in 19% of accidents resulting in bodily injuries even though they only represent 8% of driver's licence holders.
Drivers aged 65 or older are proportionally involved in fewer accidents resulting in bodily injuries than all driver's licence holders. A significant proportion of accidents involving senior drivers occur at intersections in urban areas.
However, in the event of an accident, people aged 65 or older are more likely to sustain fatal injuries or be left with significant impairment, given their greater physiological vulnerability.
Normal aging leads to a decreased ability to remain concentrated and pay divided attention to several stimuli. Thus, 43% of fatal accidents and 61% of accidents that result in injuries and involving older drivers are due to inattention or distraction.
Using several medications is on the rise and closely associated with aging. Seven percent of people between the ages of 15 and 24 take more than one medication, and this proportion increases to 70% in those aged between 65 and 79. Moreover, 25% of people in that age group use more than ten types of medication. In Québec, this figure is 33%. The simultaneous use of many medications, or the combination of medication and alcohol, even in small quantities, considerably increases risks to road safety. Over-the-counter medication is no exception.
Aging also decreases one’s tolerance to alcohol. The same quantity consumed will have greater effects on the faculties necessary for driving.
The vast majority of the information that a driver needs to drive safely passes through the eyes.
Among seniors, there is:
From 2016 to 2020, the number of driver's licence holders aged 65 or older increased by 19%, compared to 3% for all driver's licence holders.
Today, drivers aged 65 or older represent nearly 1.2 million drivers out of the 5.5 million Québec drivers.
The number of driver's licence holders aged 65 or older should reach 1.5 million in 2030, since onequarter of the Québec population will be in that age category.
Accidents involving senior drivers generally occur in favourable driving conditions – during the daytime, in good weather, and on dry pavement that is in good condition. These are the conditions in which seniors are most likely to drive.
If you have a disability, an occupational therapist can help you compensate for certain physical limitations by recommending that you have your vehicle adapted. This may include the installation of:
For more information, visit our section entitled Adapting or Purchasing a Vehicle.
Last update: June 25, 2021