Driving Across the Lifespan

The ability to drive safely is key to maintaining independence at all ages. New Jersey recognizes that young driver and older driver safety pose unique challenges. The people-focused NJ-SHO Data Dashboard provides information about driving across the lifespan to help us understand the unique driving safety patterns of each age group.

Young drivers have less driving experience and higher rates of overall crashes compared to drivers of other ages. They also have higher rates of unsafe behaviors including distracted driving, aggressive driving, and not wearing a seat belt. However, research shows that crashes and unsafe behaviors decrease as young drivers progress through the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) process. While GDL reduces crash risk, all novice drivers under 21 years of age are at an increased risk of crashing. The NJ-SHO Data Dashboard provides crash rates for young drivers for the following ages and age groups: 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, and 16-20. 

Older drivers have more driving experience but also go through age-related changes that can affect their road safety and their ability to recover after a crash. While older drivers have higher rates of fatal crashes, they have lower rates of unsafe behaviors, including driving while distracted or speeding. The NJ-SHO Data Dashboard provides crash rates for drivers who are 65 and older in five-year increments to capture how their safety patterns change over time (65-69, 70-74, 75-79, 80-84, 85-99). 

driving across the lifespan


There is great variability within young drivers and older driver groups, and just because a person is an older or young driver does not mean that they are an unsafe driver. The ability to drive is also vital for many young and older people. Balancing driving safety with mobility is important for preserving the independence of all across the lifespan. By breaking down crashes by type, behaviors, and age, the NJ-SHO Data Dashboard offers insight into the unique patterns of driving across the lifespan to help communities promote safe mobility.

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