Census projections estimate that by the year 2020 there will be 53 million people over the age of 65 living in the United States.1 At current rates of licensure, we can expect approximately 40 million of those will be licensed drivers in the year 2020. New technologies in development aim to make cars safer for retirees.
- Adaptive seat belts- Research shows that approximately 77% of people over age 60 wear their seat belt incorrectly.2 As we age, our bones are more fragile and we are at more risk of injury from restraints. Adaptive seat belts would adjust force based on the driver’s height, weight, and age.
- Smart headlights- These beams will detect when and where to dim or brighten by automatically sensing where other cars are positioned.
- Collision mitigation systems- While some cars already come equipped with collision warning and speed reduction systems, this new technology would completely stop a car to avoid a crash altogether.
- US Census Bureau. Projections of the total resident population by 5-year age groups, and sex with special age categories: middle series, 2016 to 2020. Washington, DC: Population Projections Program, Population Division, US Census Bureau, 2000.
- Reed M, Ebert S, Hallman J. Effects of driver characteristics on seat belt fit. Stapp Car Crash Journal, 2013; 57: 43-57.