Old Drivers

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COLUMBIA - The oldest members of the Baby Boomer generation turned 65 last year, which means more older drivers are on the roads.  TRIP, a national transportation research group, released a study Wednesday prompting states to take action to make traveling safer for drivers.

Missouri ranks 11th in the nation for states with the most fatal crashes involving drivers age 65 and older.  These older Americans account for 13 percent of the total population--or 34 million people.  This percentage is expected to grow to more than 20 percent  of the population over the next 15 years. 

Driver Kimberly Keller is 41. She said, "I would not be opposed to any spending by the government to make sure that the roads are safer."  She said by the time she turns 65 she wouldn't mind the state requiring extra and more frequent driver's tests, as the TRIP study suggests.

The study said one in five drivers will be 65 or older by 2025.  TRIP said there are many things states, including Missouri, can do to aide drivers.  Bigger, brighter signs are among the suggestions, along with brighter street lights at intersections--where TRIP said most accidents with older drivers occur.  Many Missouri highways already have rumble strips, which can also help alert drivers when veering off the road. 

One Columbia driver over the age of 65 said he wouldn't be offended by extra driving tests either.  "I wouldn't mind as long as they hop in the car and take a ride with me," he said.  For more information on the study you can visit TRIP's website here.