Older adults who continue to drive into their 80s have a more than five-fold risk of getting into a fatal accident than middle-aged motorists, according to a new Consumer Reports analysis.
Age-related declines in sight, reflexes and mental acuity can make the task of driving more difficult and dangerous for an elderly person. Many states have implemented special requirements for seniors seeking to renew their driver's licenses, including additional road tests and driver's education courses.
To an aging adult, a car represents a source of much-needed mobility in a world where grocery stores, doctor's offices and shopping centers often aren't within walking distance. Most seniors are understandably reluctant to relinquish the keys to such a vital piece of freedom.
Companies are beginning to include extra features in vehicles aimed at keeping older adults behind the wheel longer. Features like large buttons, backup cameras, and programs that will notify a driver if they've veered out of their lane are becoming commonplace in many recently-made automobiles.
In their investigation, Consumer Reports included a list of cars recommended for older drivers. These automobiles were chosen based on how they scored in assessments of visibility, controls, driving position, comfort and access.
Their list of senior-friendly vehicles includes:
- Subaru: Impreza (2012), Legacy (2010-2013), Outback (2010-2013), and Forrester (2009-2012)
- Mercury: Sable (2008-2009)
- Infiniti: M (2006-2010)
- Hyundai: Azera (2006-2011) and Genesis (2009-2012)
- Toyota: Avalon (2005-2012), Camry (2007-2012), Highlander (2004-2012), and RAV4 (2006-2012)
- Honda: Accord V6 (2006-2007) and Accord (2008-2012)
- Nissan: Altima (2010-2012)
- Volkswagen: Tiguan (2009-2012)
- Ford: Taurus (2008-2009)
- Lexus: RX (2006-2009)
- Acura: RDX (2013)