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Americans Support Legislation Restricting Older Drivers, According to a National Survey by Farmers Insurance

June 8, 1999


LOS ANGELES, June 7 -- A new national survey reveals Americans would support a law requiring drivers 70 and older to renew their drivers' licenses more often.

According to the survey, conducted by Farmers Insurance Group, 75 percent of the respondents would support the type of legislation currently being introduced in many states, while 21 percent would not.

Drivers 75 years and older have the highest rates of fatal motor vehicle crashes per mile driven than drivers in any other age group except teenagers, according to an analysis by the U.S. Department of Transportation.

"Most senior drivers understand the need for extra caution as they age. Reflexes may not be as sharp as they once were," says Diane Tasaka, director of corporate communications for Farmers Insurance Group. "Our study shows that many Americans, including the elderly, support initiatives that would make roads safer for older drivers."

The survey revealed that nearly half of all respondents have a family member who is 70 years or older and still driving.

"It's important for family members to monitor the driving habits of older drivers as they age. In the years to come, more seniors will be on the road than ever before," adds Tasaka. According to the Administration on Aging, 20 percent of the population will be aged 65 or older by the year 2030, compared to 12.6 percent by the year 2000.

Additional survey results:

* Younger drivers are in strong support of required driving courses for elderly drivers (76.6 percent), while drivers over age 65 expressed moderate support (46.6 percent).

* Respondents expressed overwhelming support for initiatives requiring seniors to take extensive vision tests if they continue to drive (83 percent).

* As a group, most respondents feel that larger road signs would be helpful for senior drivers (70.2 percent), however more women than men agree with this initiative (women, 74.6 percent; men, 65.5 percent).

Farmers' national survey was conducted with a sample of 1,000 consumers nationwide and has a margin of error +/- 5 percent.

Farmers offers safety tips for older drivers. These include:

* Avoid driving in heavily traveled or high-speed areas, especially during bad weather.

* When possible, have passengers help navigate.

* Get annual eye checkups.

* Use rear view mirrors frequently.

* Always wear safety belts.

Farmers supports a number of organizations committed to promoting safe driving, including Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Farmers is the nation's third-largest home and auto insurer. Headquartered in Los Angeles and doing business in 31 states, Farmers provides home, auto, business, and life insurance to more than 8 million households.

SOURCE Farmers Insurance Group

/CONTACT: Diane Tasaka of Farmers Insurance Group, 323-932-3018/


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