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FHWA 19-15
Monday, March 23, 2015
Contact: Doug Hecox/Nicole Jones
(202) 366-0660

Older Drivers At Peak Levels, New Data Show

Drivers Over 50 Among Fastest-Growing Population, Supports Call for Investment

WASHINGTON – The U.S Department of Transportation's Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced today that according to new data, people over 50 years old accounted for nearly half of all U.S. drivers in 2013 – more than ever before. This new data underscores projections made by U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx in "Beyond Traffic," a 30-year framework for the future of transportation, which shows a 77 percent increase among drivers over 65 by 2045.

"Knowing that older drivers are one of our fastest-growing populations helps us realize the importance of transportation investment – especially for research," said Secretary Foxx. "In the decades ahead, our roads will serve even more older drivers – making it critical that we invest in our nation's infrastructure and use state-of-the-art research to ensure the road system is ready to meet their needs."

Collected from all 50 states and Washington, D.C., the data show there were 212.2 million licensed drivers in 2013 – the most recent year for which data are available. Drivers over 50 years old reached nearly 93.5 million in 2013 – an increase of 22 percent since 2003 – resulting in over 44.1 percent of total licensed drivers. Drivers over 85 years old remain the fastest growing demographic group, nearly doubling from 1.76 million in 1998 to 3.48 million in 2013 – the second-highest amount ever recorded.

"From brighter, more visible highway signs and lane markings to pedestrian countdown signals, our research has done much to keep America's aging population safe," said Deputy Federal Highway Administrator Gregory Nadeau. "We are far from done. Because safety is our top priority, we hope to increase transportation investments to build on the gains we've already made."

Published in FHWA's "Highway Statistics," an annual compilation of information about drivers, vehicles and roads, the data reflect the growing demands on the U.S. highway system and informs decisions by transportation policy makers, researchers and academia.

Secretary Foxx's draft report "Beyond Traffic" can be viewed at http://www.dot.gov/BeyondTraffic and the viewing public is invited to share ideas at http://www.dot.gov/BeyondTraffic/ShareYourIdeas.

Additional information about how the FHWA designs roads for older drivers can be found in "Handbook for Designing Roadways for the Aging Population," available online at http://safety.fhwa.dot.gov/older_users/handbook, offers substantial information on the methods and techniques used to accommodate this growing driver demographic.

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FHWA Press Releases

Page posted on March 23, 2015
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