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Older drivers 'safer on roads'

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Contradicting assumptions that older drivers are at a higher risk of crashing on the roads, a study has found that motorists over 70 are considerably safer than their younger counterparts.

According to the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) report, although some 8% of road users were over the age of 70 during the 2000-06 period, they caused only about 4% of accidents that involved injury.

Around the same time, however, about 34% of injury crashes were caused by some 15% of motorists who were in their teens and 20s.

The study titled Older Drivers - Safe or Unsafe also showed that per year men in their 70s made as many as 100 more trips when compared with younger drivers.

The research has predicted that the number of male drivers over 70 will double in the next two decades, while the count of female drivers is likely to treble.

Neil Greig, IAM director of policy and research, said: "The report contradicts the common assumption that older drivers are a danger on the roads."

Also, the road safety charity has urged that older drivers should be made aware of the risks they face on the roads, that could in turn affect their car insurance policy.

Mr Greig added: "The IAM recommends that, rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we need to make them aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them cope with these risks."

© Press Association 2009