Study: Aged Drivers?More Accidents, Fewer Tickets

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By Gary Mogel

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NU Online News Service, Sept. 30, 3 :22 p.m.EDT?Drivers over age 81 have about as many auto accidentsas teenagers, but receive considerably fewer tickets for movingviolations, according to a research group.

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The San Francisco, Calif.-based Quality Planning Corp. said itfound in a study that 16- to 20-year-old drivers have the mostaccidents (28 per million miles driven), and that the accident ratecontinues to decrease in every age bracket until drivers reach age61, when it begins to creep back up.

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In the 81-and-over bracket, the accident rate goes up to nearlythe same level as teenagers?27 per million miles driven.

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Dr. Daniel Finnegan, founder and president of QPC, noted thatteenage drivers generally have less skill and experience,accounting for their higher accident rate. "For the older drivers,their slower reaction time and vision contribute to the greateraccident potential," Dr. Finnegan said.

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"One hour of driving requires that over 200,000 decisions bemade," he added.

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Despite the similarity in the accident rate between younger andolder drivers, it is by far the younger age group that has the mostmoving violations, the study concluded.

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Drivers in the 16- to 20-year-old age group have the highestnumber of moving violations?21 per million miles driven. The ratefor moving violations continues to drop as drivers get older, withdrivers age 81 and over having a rate of 4 violations per millionmiles driven.

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"Older drivers don't drive as fast or as recklessly," noted BobU'Ren, QPC's vice president of business development andunderwriting. "They are also much less aggressive drivers."

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"These figures should be cause for concern among auto insurancecompanies," Dr Finnegan said. "It's clear that moving violationdata is not as good a predictor of risk as drivers' age, whichmeans insurers need to rely less on DMV data when makingunderwriting decisions," he added. "Age is one area where webelieve insurance companies should focus more underwritingattention."

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The QPC executives indicated that recent news reports aboutolder drivers causing serious auto accidents?such as the86-year-old driver who killed 10 people in Santa Monica, Calif.?wasa factor that prompted the study.

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