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NHTSA Considers "Silver" Car-Rating System For Older Drivers

As baby boomers transition into a so-called "silver tsunami," the importance of senior safety measures will be vital to the country, in both economic and quality-of-life perspectives. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recognizes that the seismic shift in demographics is occurring and is considering creating car-safety ratings for senior drivers.

These "silver" ratings could prove to be life-savers, as elderly people are unable to endure crash forces as durably as younger people. Automakers could consider this when designing, manufacturing and marketing their vehicles, and then older consumers could reap the benefits.

The silver rating system is still in the conceptual stage, but it could consider factors such as:

  • Elderly-focused crash ratings
  • Arthritis-friendly features, such as automatic seatbelts
  • Smart headlights that intelligently adjust range and intensity
  • Emergency response systems
  • Comfort features that reduce strain on a senior's body

NHTSA will take a long, hard look at creating the senior-focused rating system. Elderly drivers have the highest death rate in serious auto accidents. Today, there are 37 million elderly drivers on the road. By 2030, that number will reach 57 million.

Source: The Washington Post, "NHTSA Proposes Older Driver, Family Vehicle Safety Ratings," Suzanne Kane, April 9, 2013

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