Status: 10.12.2023, 11:35 a.m.
By: Romina Kunze, Julian Mayr
Transport Minister Volker Wissing blocked the EU's mandatory driving tests. The number of accidents involving older drivers is inconspicuous. A new analysis refutes this.
Munich – In the course of the planned broad-based driving licence reform of the European Union, Brussels also took the age group over 60 to task. According to the draft, older drivers in all member states should undergo regular checks from a certain age to certify their fitness to drive.
Such tests are already common practice in many European countries, including Italy and its two neighbours, Luxembourg and the Netherlands. In Germany, on the other hand, there was a great outcry, with automobile associations seeing the draft as paternalism, and social associations even as age discrimination. Transport Minister Volker Wissing (FDP) has also recently taken a clear stance against it, saying that he could not see an increased danger from senior citizens in road traffic.
Accident researchers and new evaluations by the Federal Statistical Office (Destatis) disagree with the Federal Minister. In view of the new findings, should we talk about the temporary driver's license again?
New statistics from the Federal Office reveal: Older drivers are more likely to be involved in accidents
Siegfried Brockmann, head of accident research at the insurers, is of the opinion that Federal Transport Minister Wissing underestimates the risk of older drivers. It is true that older people are not more likely to be involved in accidents in absolute terms. However, this is due to the fact that they are less on the roads overall, Brockmann points out to the German Press Agency (dpa).
According to the latest findings, the number of accidents involving older drivers has risen. Especially when turning, drivers over 60 plus make serious mistakes. There are also incidents in right-of-way situations. Younger drivers, on the other hand, are more likely to cause traffic accidents under the influence of alcohol or due to excessive speed. (Symbolic photo) © Felix Kästle/dpa
Figures from the Federal Statistical Office in Wiesbaden from 2022 show that older drivers are more likely to bear the brunt of the blame than younger drivers when they are involved in accidents involving personal injury. According to statistics, people aged 65 and over were the main culprits in more than two-thirds of these cases (68.7 percent) last year. Drivers aged 75 and over were even blamed for accidents in three out of four cases (76.6 percent).
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According to Brockmann, the same number of people die in accidents involving people over the age of 75 as in accidents involving the high-risk group of 18 to 21-year-olds; measured by relative mileage. The data also show that those aged 65 or over are significantly less likely to survive a traffic accident than those in younger age groups.
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A look at the causes of accidents also shows that drivers aged 65 and over are more likely to take the right of way from other road users. This age group is also more likely to make serious mistakes when turning, turning, reversing, entering and starting off. On the other hand, many younger age groups do not keep enough distance from the vehicle in front of them, drive too fast more often or under the influence of alcohol.
Increase in accidents caused by senior citizens – experts in favour of measures
Thomas Wagner, traffic psychology expert at the German Motor Vehicle Surveillance Association (DEKRA), on the other hand, has something to gain from the EU's plans for mandatory examinations: "If you base it on the external criteria, the consideration of mandatory checks can make sense. Especially if the numbers continue to rise and the self-responsibility is not taken by those affected," he told IPPEN. MEDIA.
At the time of the interview, the traffic expert was primarily aware of the 2021 Safety Report. These figures alone showed a certain upward trend in the number of accidents caused by older drivers. According to the report, two years ago, the misconduct of drivers aged 75 or over was almost identical to that of 18- to 20-year-olds.
Like Wagner from DEKRA, accident researcher Brockmann also suggests mandatory trips for older people with professionals. They would then be able to provide feedback on their driving behaviour, but without having the authority to revoke their driving licences.
The editors wrote this article and then used an AI language model for optimization at their own discretion. All information has been carefully verified.