10/11/2004

Hazardous Drivers

When it comes to bad drivers, senior citizens and teenagers take most of the blame. In 2002, America had 35.6 million people 65 years of age and older. That number is expected to double by 2030 as the baby boomer era comes to an end. This generation expects to keep driving and buying new cars for many more years. Furthermore, car companies such as Ford, General Motors, and Honda are working to keep this influential demographic age group behind the wheel by designing cars that could radically improve safety.
These car companies are conducting studies that mimic the effects of aging, such as stiff joints and poor eyesight, to improve their vehicles for the older generation. They are also designing voice recognition systems to monitor the cars various controls, crash proof sensing systems, downloadable improvements and other digital systems.
All of these studies could greatly improve the safety for the baby boomers. And baby boomers aren’t the only ones that will buy these technologically advance vehicles. Will these advancements be as effective, or rather ineffective, as the seatbelt law? Will technological improvements lead to people feeling safer which in turn lead to more hazardous driving?

9 comments:

John West said...

Technological advancements in the auto industry most likely will not have a negative effect with respect to car crashes, when you are applying it to senior citizens and their respective driving abilities. Most senior citizens are usually careful behind the wheel. Although, they are known to pull out in front of oncoming traffic at a slower pace, they usually drive more conservatively in all occasions( i.e. the freeway, highway, and city driving) of their time behind the wheel. The car companies are wise to plan ahead and come up with a logical game plan for what is sure to be a very large demographic age group.

Bryce Larkin said...

It makes perfect sense to build cars designed for the elderly. Since the baby boomers are the largest in population, companies should design more things to accommodate for them. My first thought was better safety can benefit everyone but, on the other hand, the cars will be safer so everyone will feel safer; therefore, more accidents. Also, all this technology, "crash proof sensing system and downloadable improvements" can give me a headache. Just give me a normal car that I can work on.

Rufio said...

It seems to me that cars were already on a technological advancement track. Just look at the cars from 1970 compared to those of 2000. There is a drastic diffenece in the safety and technology of new cars compared to old. These new advances can't be just because we have more senior citizens now than we did 30 years ago. The fact that we have a large generation of people that are aging can definetely foster new thoughts about car safety and technology, but I don't think that it is the underlying cause of the improvements. Cars will continue to advace as technology advances regardless of demographics.

peter_parker said...

This is a great post that goes along with the type of thinking that Lansberg uses. I think that the blogger's assumption is right, people will feel safer, which will lead to more accidents. Maybe the accidents won't be as severe, but I would give a warning to all pedestrians. Who knows what could happen if senior citizens feel completely safe behind the wheel.

What they need to invent is a car that drives itself so that a senior citizen can just get in a sit back. The car would also be required to go at least 5 miles over the speed limit to get rid of the traffic congestion caused by seniors. Or government could pass legislation to force all seniors to just take the bus.

John West said...

Rufio is right, technological advances will happen in the world regardless of demograpic growth rates. However, companies can make it seem that they are doing it with senior citizens in mind. Retirees have less disposable income than those a few decades behind them, but what a powerful source of revenues the baby boomer generation will foster to firms in the future is mind blowing. I read an article the other day that basically said that the ten fastest growing jobs in the future will have to do with taking care of our elderly. Anyway you look at it, I guess it sucks to get old.

Taber Wolrab said...

Will better technology really help the safety of our senior drivers? I don't think more gadgets in a car will improve the safety more. It is like the safety belts from "The Armchair Economist". Is it worse for them to have bad sight, hearing, etc, or to have more distractions? I don't think technology will improve the driving of the senior drivers. Technology can't help people drive good!

stevepadilla2 said...

Making a vehicle supposedly safer for the older generation is just adding to the accident problem, and will result in more accidents. Making the elderly feel safer when in fact it is their aging body, loss of corrdination, & slower reaction time which is leading to their dangerous, deadly driving. These changes will just lead to a false sense of security for everyone.

Maudi said...

Nothing is going to help our Senior citizens saftey they were poor drivers yesterday and they will still be poor drivers tomarrow. I think that we should make them have a more stringent drivers test thus making it harder for them to get a license.

Dr. Tufte said...

I don't know that these efforts will have quite the same effect as seat belts. Seat belts make the driver feel safer by anchoring them. This is a very tangible improvement - I might even hazard that you feel more secure than you actually are. If the new safety features don't do something akin to that, they probably won't suffer (too seriously) from the same problem.