Reducing Older People’s Deaths on European Roads (PIN Flash 45)

  • November 7, 2023

Older individuals face a heightened susceptibility to trauma compared to other age groups, primarily due to an increased fatality risk resulting from physical impacts as they age. When a collision occurs, it can have more severe consequences for older individuals. Furthermore, older road users often contend with age-related limitations, making it imperative to proactively prevent injuries among this demographic. Achieving this goal necessitates addressing multiple facets, including modifying behaviour, enhancing vehicle safety, and improving infrastructure. In particular, older individuals are at elevated risk when walking or cycling. Their frailty and vulnerability become more pronounced in the absence of a protective car chassis in the event of a road collision. Nonetheless, discouraging older individuals from walking or cycling should not be the solution. The health advantages associated with active travel, such as walking and cycling, outweigh the potential risks of road injuries and exposure to air pollution. Research has indicated that these health benefits are most pronounced in older age groups.

Part I of this report delves into the most recent data regarding road deaths among older people across the European Union and other countries participating in the ETSC’s Road Safety Performance Index (PIN) program. It not only highlights disparities among countries but also assesses the road safety of older individuals compared to the general population, while also examining specific road user groups and gender disparities.

Part II of this report explores key measures aimed at reducing risks for older road users, encompassing strategies that address behaviour, infrastructure, and vehicle safety. Alongside considerations for older car drivers, such as fitness to drive and training, this section also scrutinises ways to enhance the safety of older cyclists and pedestrians. Measures like reducing speed limits, implementing 30km/h zones, establishing secure pedestrian crossings, and maintaining high-quality footpaths all play pivotal roles in enhancing road safety for older individuals.