Rhode Island is the most dangerous state for drivers age 65 and older, followed by Maine, Minnesota, New York and Idaho, according to a Caring.com report. New Mexico is the safest.
The study compared the number of people age 65 and older who were killed in car accidents with that age group’s share of the population in each state. In 43 states, seniors died in car crashes disproportionately to their share of the population.
What conclusions can be drawn from this information? According to Dayna Steele, Caring.com’s Chief Caring Expert and the author of Surviving Alzheimer’s with Friends, Facebook and a Really Big Glass of Wine?, it basically means that people need not be afraid to have the “you shouldn’t drive anymore” conversation with their older loved ones.
“I’m always shocked to hear adult children ― people in their 50s and 60s ― say they aren’t comfortable having that talk,” she told The Huffington Post. “It’s why we do studies like this: To give people a conversation opener.”
The logic behind the study findings is pretty simple, Steele told HuffPost. The 10 states deemed the most dangerous are all fairly densely populated while the 10 safest states all have more open spaces. “There is less to hit,” she said.
But there is something else as well. In nine of the 10 so-called safest states, there are rules requiring more frequent license renewals and retesting of older drivers. Where there is greater oversight, there are lower rates of fatalities behind the wheel.
“Just have that conversation,” Steele urges, “as hard as it is.”
To see the complete list of states, go here.