Research delves into more seniors driving
A researcher at the University of New Brunswick says the number of seniors getting into the commercial driving industry is rising - and he's warning policy makers to be ready for the implications.
Eric Hildebrand says seniors currently represent about 14 per cent of New Brunswick's general driving population and within the next couple of decades that's going to increase to a full onequarter.
“That's going to be a huge shift and it's something that's going to need to be accommodated from a policy perspective, from an engineering perspective, from a vehicle design perspective and so on,” Hildebrand said.
“It's something that we need to understand because it's coming and it's coming quite quickly.” Hildebrand is gathering collision data from the last four years to examine the performance of older drivers in school buses, transport trucks, and motorcoaches.
“There has been a shortage of drivers, particularly tractortrailer drivers, and with pensions in the kind of shape they're in and so on, we are starting to see more seniors either get into these fields or stay in them longer,” Hildebrand said.
“Nobody really understands what's required and what thresholds we need to evaluate people in terms of whether they are a safe driver or not.”
Hildebrand said he has done some preliminary analysis on seniors driving tractor trailers, and found that drivers over the age of 70 were involved in accidents at a rate of 6.3 times more than middle-aged drivers.