The 10 Most Dangerous States for Older Drivers, New Study Shows

A new study reveals which states reported the most fatal accidents for people 65 and over.

As people get older, "driving can become more challenging due to certain health aspects like a decrease in vision quality and slower reaction times," says Seth Bader of personal injury law firm Bader Scott. That's why his firm recently examined National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) data from 2017-2021 to discover which U.S. states have the highest percentage of elderly deaths in road accidents. Bader says this data is especially crucial since, during these five years, there were 65,291 people aged 65 and older involved in road fatalities—the age bracket with the second-highest number of road fatalities, following 25-30s with 67,211 deaths. Read on to learn the 10 most dangerous states for older drivers.

RELATED: 10 U.S. States With the Deadliest Winter Roads, New Data Shows.

10
Oregon

Portland Oregon's Columbia River Highway surrounded by fall foliage
Bob Pool / Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 20.84

From visiting Portland to touring the many national and state parks, this northwestern state offers plenty to see and do. However, seniors may want to consider using public transportation to visit these sites, as out of Oregon's 4,491 total road accident deaths, 936 involved drivers aged 65 and over.

9
Kansas

Aerial View of Lawrence, Kansas and its State University
Jacob Boomsma / Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 21.11

Out of 4,050 total road fatalities in Kansas, 855 involved older drivers. The state's blustery winter weather can make driving even more dangerous.

8
New Hampshire

Manchester is the largest city in the state of New Hampshire and the largest city in northern New England. Manchester is known for its industrial heritage, riverside mills, affordability, and arts & cultural destination.
iStock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 21.72

While this New England state has some of the safest cities to live in, it reported 225 deaths of senior drivers between 2017 and 2021.

RELATED: The 10 Worst Cities to Drive In, New Research Shows—And NYC Is Not #1.

7
Pennsylvania

harrisburg pennsylvania
Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 21.83

With big cities including Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania is no stranger to heavy traffic. Data shows that the state had 11,848 deaths total with 2,586 of them coming from drivers 65 and older.

6
Minnesota

Minnesota
Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 22

Minnesota is another state that deals with harsh driving conditions in the winter. The study revealed that they had 3,931 total deaths from road accidents, with 865 of those involving drivers over 65.

5
Vermont

stowe vermont
Prestigious PHotos / Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 22.10

Only a tenth of a percentage separates Minnesota and Vermont. While this northeastern state did have fewer total deaths at just 629, 139 of those involved drivers over 65 years of age. This is more deaths than any other age bracket in the state, according to the data.

RELATED: 10 States With the Cleanest Tap Water, New Data Shows.

4
New Jersey and Massachusetts

New Jersey
Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 22.84

New Jersey and Massachusetts tied for fourth as both states have a percentage of 22.84 for deaths over the age of 65. Out of New Jersey's 5,880 total deaths, 1,343 involved drivers over the age of 65—"a significantly higher rate of deaths than any other age range within the state," according to the report.

Compared to the Garden State, Massachusetts had fewer overall deaths—3,617, with citizens over 65 accounting for 826 of those.

3
Rhode Island

A view of downtown Providence, Rhode Island on a sunny day.
iStock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 22.94

Rhode Island's smaller population equated to fewer total deaths; data shows that 139 fatalities out of 606 overall were aged 65 and older. However, that's still quite a high percentage.

RELATED: The Top 10 Most "All-American" States, New Data Shows.

2
New York

new york city
iStock / Bim

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 23.30

Driving in New York City presents a unique set of challenges, but people over 65 may want to be extra careful driving throughout the state. With 10,706 road accident deaths in total—2,494 of those being elderly deaths—it's no surprise that New York is in second place.

1
Maine

Portland Maine
Sean Pavone/Shutterstock

Percentage of deaths over the age of 65: 24.58

Compared to other age groups in this northernmost state, those over age 65 had the most fatalities, with 378 out of 1,538 total. Therefore, Maine topped the list as the most dangerous state for older drivers as their percentage reached a high of 24.58.

Conversely, the study noted that Louisiana is the safest state for older drivers; those 65+ accounted for only 13.57 percent of the state's total road fatalities.

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Courtney Shapiro
Courtney Shapiro is an Associate Editor at Best Life. Before joining the Best Life team, she had editorial internships with BizBash and Anton Media Group. Read more
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