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Higher injury risk linked to driving older vehicles

Younger and older drivers in Louisiana are more likely to be involved in fatal car accidents. While some of these risks are likely due to the inexperience of younger drivers and health changes in older drivers, a recent study found that both groups also tend to drive vehicles with fewer safety features.

Driving older cars increases fatality risks

Researchers from the Center for Injury Research and Prevention at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia reviewed crash data from 2010 to 2017 in New Jersey. The data was obtained from the New Jersey Safety and Health Outcomes warehouse, which stores licensing and crash information for the state. After obtaining the vehicle identification numbers for the vehicles involved in the crashes, the researchers then used the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s vehicle listing and product information platform to get safety-related data. This included the vehicle type, model year, whether the vehicle had electronic stability control and airbag information. The researchers found that younger and older drivers who were involved in crashes were much more likely to drive older vehicles that did not have side airbags, curtain airbags or electronic stability control.

Socioeconomic link to injury and fatality risks

Another finding of the study is that people in lower-income neighborhoods were much more likely to be involved in fatal accidents. People with lower incomes tend to drive older vehicles without safety features, according to researchers. Among young drivers, those who live in high-income neighborhoods are 53% more likely to drive cars with airbags and electronic stability control. Older drivers who live in high-income neighborhoods are 35% more likely to drive cars with safety features than older drivers who live in poor neighborhoods.

The researchers recommended that young and old drivers should try to purchase the safest vehicles that they can afford to reduce their injury and fatality risks. Someone who suffered a serious car accident injury caused by another driver may want to consult with an experienced motor vehicle accident lawyer to learn about their rights.