senior couple smiling in drivers' side window, driver is giving a thumbs up gesture

Do You Drive Better As You Get Older?

It's commonly thought that there are few things on the road that can be more dangerous than an inexperienced driver. Maybe there's a lack of awareness of the road rules or negligent actions taken; nevertheless, newer drivers tend to get a bad rap. However, too often is inexperience automatically equated with youth.

While it's true that most inexperienced drivers tend to be younger, there could easily be a large amount of older drivers who fall into this category. In examining Louisiana crash reports, we can get a clearer picture of which age demographics might be better at driving and less likely to be involved in an accident.

Practice Makes Perfect?

Before conflicting studies in 2018, it was thought that someone needed 10,000 hours to be considered a master at a chosen task. If this were true, assuming that drivers who get their license at 16 drive for an hour a day every day, it would take someone over 27 years to be considered an expert driver.

Based only on this generalization and example alone, it would be safe to assume that older people would be better drivers. However, this falls short because it only considers someone's practice time and not their comprehension, muscle memory, or natural skill at the task.

This would mean that the old adage "practice makes perfect" may also be flawed. By examining key crash statistics, we can see which age demographics have a higher rate of being involved in more serious accidents. What we cannot see, though, is if these circumstances would have varied based solely on the quality of one's driving.

How Crash Reports Refute This

In terms of age demographics, the majority of licensed Louisiana drivers can most evenly be broken up like this:

  • 15 to 34-year-olds account for 30.14% of licensed drivers
  • 35 to 54-year-olds account for 31.79% of licensed drivers
  • 55 to 74-year-olds account for 30.6% of licensed drivers

You can also break it down further within these age ranges to see how many fatal and injury crashes occurred in 2020.

  • 15 to 34-year-olds: 29,981 accidents
  • 35 to 54-year-olds: 21,167 accidents
  • 55 to 74-year-olds: 12,477 accidents

This data section indicates that younger people are more likely to be involved in fatal or injury crashes. However, it's not the lower end of that demographic that is the cause for concern. In ranking the top five for the percentage of drivers involved in fatal or injury crashes, it looks like this:

  • 25-34-year-olds: 22.25% of drivers involved in crashes
  • 35-44-year-olds: 17.45% of drivers involved in crashes
  • 45-54-year-olds: 12.85% of drivers involved in crashes
  • 55-64-year-olds: 11.51% of drivers involved in crashes
  • 21-24-year-olds: 9.86% of drivers involved in crashes

This tells us that despite more crashes occurring in the younger demographic, the middle-aged drivers might statistically be at a greater risk of getting into accidents. However, even with the most licensed drivers being in the 55 to 64 age range, they pose less of a risk overall.

As these statistics vary by year, it can be inclusive when determining precisely at which age you are the “best” driver. That being said, 25 to 34 year-olds consistently rank highest for injury and fatal crashes. Whether it’s the need for speed, more distractions, or other factors, it’s safe to predict that you just get better with age.

Involved in an Injury Crash? We Can Help

Hinch and Associates PLC has been committed to protecting motorists against negligence for over 30 years. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, call (337) 222-3434 or visit our website to schedule a free consultation.