Almost one in five US drivers are seniors
The greatest increase in licensed drivers were those aged between 75-79, up 5% on 2015 figures.
Americans aged 65 or older, considered senior citizens, are the fastest growing age group of drivers on the road, while teenage licensed drivers remain at near-record low levels, according to new research.
Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) data shows there were 221.7 million licensed drivers in the U.S. in 2016. Numbers rose year-on-year in all but five states – Michigan, Oklahoma, South Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming. The greatest increase in licensed drivers were those aged between 75-79, up 5% on 2015 figures.
The information was sourced from the FHWA’s Highway Statistics, yielding data on drivers, vehicles and roads.
The amount of licensed senior drivers aged 85 or older rose 4.6% year-on-year, the second-fastest growing segment.
Around 41.7 million or almost one in five (18.8%) licensed drivers in the U.S. were aged 65 years or older.
Nearly 57 million or one quarter (25%) of licensed drivers were aged between 20-34. These millennials slightly increased their share of the market in 2016, up from 56.1 million reported in 2015.
Although the number of licensed teenage drivers rose to 8.8 million, the highest numbers since 2013, their overall share of the market (4%) is close to the lowest levels since licensing data was first compiled in 1963.
There were slightly more licensed female drivers (50.5%) than male drivers (49.4%) on the roads in 2016.
To accommodate the growing number of older drivers on the road FHWA researchers have implemented new safety enhancements, such as retro-reflective laminates to make highway signs brighter and more visible.
Additionally, the agency provides funding for the Roadway Safety Foundation to operate the Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety, which offers tips and information for practitioners and for senior drivers as well.
The latest research predicts that sales of personally-owned sedans in the United States will fall frantically over the next decade or so, resulting from a progressive influx of driverless transportation services.