Percentage of Drivers Age 85 and Older: Connecticut Leads USA

Connecticut has more than double the percentage of licensed drivers age 85 and older than any other state in the nation, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

In the Land of Steady Habits, 5.1 percent of all drivers – a total of 152,233 people – were age 85 or older, ranking Connecticut at the top of the state-by-state ranking.  The second place state, Maine, had 2.34 percent of its licensed drivers in that demographic.

The Insurance Institutolder driverse for Highway Safety reports that 29 states and the District of Columbia have additional license renewal procedures for older drivers, often age 65 or 70 and older.  In Connecticut, people 65 and older may choose a 2-year or 6-year renewal cycle. A personal appearance at renewal generally is required. Upon a showing of hardship, people 65 and older may renew by mail. There are no additional requirements for older drivers, according to the Insurance Institute.

Bloomberg ranked the U.S. states and the District of Columbia on the percentage of licensed drivers ages 85 and older, using data from the Federal Highway Administration.  (The data was for 2011, the most recent year available.)

The Age 85+ Rankings (percent of licensed drivers)elderly-driver

  1.  Connecticut        5.10%
  2. Maine                   2.34%
  3.  Alabama              2.23%
  4. Vermont              2.22%
  5.  Minnesota          2.11%
  6. New York            2.09%
  7. Nebraska             2.02%
  8.   South Dakota     1.99%
  9.  Florida                  1.98%
  10. Pennsylvania     1.98%

Rhode Island ranked #11, New Jersey was #15, Massachusetts was #17 and New Hampshire was #28 among states in our region.

Although they only account for about 9 percent of the population, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics show senior drivers account for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities, ABC News reported last year.

The network cited a report by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that found the rate of deaths involving drivers 75 to 84 is about three per million miles driven – on par with teen drivers. Once they pass age 85, vehicular fatality rates jump to nearly four times that of teens.  The Insurance Institute reports that the increased fatal crash risk among older drivers is largely due to their increased susceptibility to injury, particularly chest injuries, and medical complications, rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.

An Institute study of a Florida vision test requirement for drivers 80 and older found that 80 percent of those eligible to renew their licenses attempted to do so, and 7 percent of them were denied renewal because they failed the vision test. Of those who did not seek renewal, about half said they thought they would fail the vision test.