News Column

According to Michael Cerussi, New Vehicle Safety Ratings Will Protect Elderly Individuals

Apr 15 2013 12:00AM



NEW YORK, NY -- (Marketwired) -- 04/15/13 -- Michael Cerussi has lent his support to the proposal of new vehicle safety ratings that focus specifically on elderly drivers. A new article states that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is suggesting two new safety ratings that are geared toward old drivers and families. On its website, the NHTSA explains that it is considering updating the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) and is working on developing a "silver" rating that would review the safety of the car for an older driver.

The NHTSA notes that the rating would be an addition to the current NCAP five-star safety ratings, which were developed in 1978. Any changes to the NCAP system could take up to three or four years to get put into place. As of late, there has been an influx of older drivers, often referred to as "the silver tsunami." The AARP notes that 16 percent of licensed drivers in America are over the age of 65. By 2025, the organization expects that one in five U.S. drivers will be 65 or older. By 2030, 57 million elderly drivers will take the road, as opposed to only 37 million today.

The proposed silver rating for older drivers is necessary, says NHTSA, because older vehicle occupants are usually less able to endure crash forces than younger drivers. Federal crash statistics illustrate that older drivers account for the highest death rate in serious accidents. Ideally, the silver rating will help these motorists find information that can enable them to purchase a car that protects them more effectively. Some features in these cars may include inflatable seat belts and technology that prevents low-speed pedal misapplication.

Michael Cerussi comments on these proposed efforts, stating, "Older drivers have a different set of needs than younger people. While a young person may want a car with a high-quality sound system or a built-in navigation system, cars for elderly individuals should focus on keeping these people safe as they take the road. This information will prove useful to older drivers and their families."

While these new ratings could help older drivers in the car purchasing process, there is also a downside to these efforts. Jake Nelson, director of traffic safety advocacy and research for AAA, notes that, "Seniors don't typically want 'older people' cars." For this reason, the new ratings may prove alienating to the group it is actually trying to benefit. Nelson explains that AAA ran into a similar issue five years ago as it worked to develop smart car features for older drivers. He states, "It's more about seeking the best features for the particular conditions seniors face, and they can be very different."

For drivers who suffer from arthritis, automatic seat belts, push button start systems, and easy-grip steering wheels are often beneficial. Smaller motorists may enjoy adjustable pedals for the brake and gas. Michael Cerussi notes that these types of changes can help make the driving experience safer and more enjoyable for an elderly motorist.


Michael Cerussi is a driver education instructor who owns Cerussi Driving School. He founded the organization in 1998. At Cerussi Driving School, young motorists can sharpen a range of skills, including defensive driving abilities. The school has 20 staff members who provide essential information to keep young people safe on the roads. The team also teaches about the dangers of drunk driving.

Source: Marketwire

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