Oldest and Youngest Drivers are Most Dangerous on Road: Consumer Reports
Best cars for the elderly and teenagers recommended by magazine
Several models of Subaru picked as best cars for senior citizens.
Aug. 28. 2012 - While they stand at opposite ends of the demographic spectrum, and both groups include many good drivers,
statistics show that overall teenagers and elderly drivers (80 and older in this report) are involved in far more crashes and highway
fatalities than any other age group, according to a special report by Consumer Reports.
For its latest investigation, Consumer Reports reviewed government and industry data. Mile for mile, the crash rate for
drivers ages 16 and 17, for example, is almost nine times as high as that for middle-aged drivers. People 80 and older are involved in 5.5
times as many fatal crashes per mile driven as middle-aged drivers.
For young and old drivers, the reasons behind the risk are as different as the people themselves. Teens struggle with
inexperience behind the wheel and developing brains that might not accurately assess risks. Older drivers have plenty of experience and even
tend to drive less, but age-related conditions can impede their driving ability. And when a crash happens, their fragility leads to more
Asking loved ones and friends to hand over their keys, because of diminished skills can be an awkward milestone. Many
seniors reduce their driving voluntarily as their abilities decline. But at some point, they might become unsafe to themselves and other
The full report on risky drivers contains insights into the risk factors for these drivers, along with tips to help deal
with their unique challenges and test-based recommendations on the best cars for teens and older drivers. This report will be available at
www.ConsumerReports.org on August 28th and in the October issue of Consumer Reports, on newsstands September 4th.
Best Cars for Senior Drivers:
Consumer Reports' list includes new and used vehicles that scored well in Consumer Reports tests for access, visibility,
front-seat comfort, driving position, and controls. All vehicles have average or better reliability, and most have standard electronic
stability control. (It's optional on the Ford Taurus, Mercury Sable, and Toyota Camry prior to 2010.)
Many seniors reduce
their driving voluntarily as their abilities decline. But at some point, they might become unsafe to themselves and other motorists.
They can use a
self-rating tool on the
AAA website to help assess their skills and get advice on how to maximize their safety on
If you need to assess a
senior’s driving ability, watch for these red flags:
·Slow response times.
·Inability to fully turn to check blind
·Running stop signs.
·Motorists honking at them frequently.
·A hesitation or reluctance to drive.
·Cognitive dysfunction, such as getting
lost or calling for help.
·Repeat fender benders, dings, or paint
scrapes on the car.
You can also get advice
through a free online seminar on the
If you think the
situation is serious, consult the person’s doctor. Keep in mind that medications and physical conditions, such as reduced vision, a
stroke, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease, can affect driving performance in dramatic or subtle ways.
A version of this article appeared in the October 2012 issue of Consumer Reports magazine with the headline "Risky Drivers."
Best Cars for Teens:
Buying a car for a new driver can be a balancing act between getting one you can afford and finding one that's safe and
reliable. Consumer Reports recommends consumers look for a vehicle with advanced safety features, such as electronic stability control (ESC)
and side-curtain air bags, and one that performed well in independent crash tests.
Parents should avoid getting their teen a large pickup or SUV; its high center of gravity makes it more prone to roll
over. Large vehicles can also have unwieldy handling and poor fuel economy, and they allow teens to carry more passengers, which increases the
Consumer Reports compiled a list of new and used vehicles that provide balanced performance in CR tests, have had average
or better reliability, come with standard ESC, and did well in independent crash tests. In alphabetical order:
● Acura: TSX
● Chevrolet: Equinox (V6,
2010-2012), Malibu (4-cyl., 2008 or later)
● Ford: Focus sedan
(2009-2011), Fusion (4-cyl. and hybrid, 2010 or later)
● Honda: Accord (4-cyl., 2008
or later), Fit (2011 or later)
● Hyundai: Elantra (2011 or
later), Elantra SE (2008-2010), Elantra Touring, Santa Fe (V6, 2007-2009, no third-row seat), Sonata (4-cyl. nonturbo, 2006 or later), Tucson
(2010 or later)
● Infiniti G25
● Kia: Forte (2010 or later),
Optima (nonturbo, 2010 or later), Soul, Sportage (4-cyl., non turbo, 2011 or later)
● Mazda: 3i Touring (2009 or
later), 3s Touring or Grand Touring (2007 or later), 6i (4-cyl., 2009 or later)
● Mitsubishi: Outlander (2007
or later, no third-row seat)
● Nissan: Altima (4-cyl., 2010
or later), Rogue, Sentra (2010 or later)
● Scion: xB (2008 or later)
● Subaru: Forester (nonturbo,
2009 or later), Impreza, (nonturbo, 2009 or later), Outback Sport (2008 or later), Legacy 2.5i (2009 or later)
● Toyota: Camry (2010 or
later), Corolla (2010 or later), Matrix (2010 or later), Prius (2010 or later), Prius V, RAV4 (2004 or later, no third-row seat)
● Volkswagen: Jetta
(2009-2010), Golf (2010 or later), Rabbit (2009)
Updated daily, ConsumerReports.org claims to be the “go-to website for the latest auto reviews, product news, blogs on
breaking news, and car-buying information.” CR's ongoing Twitter feed is at @CRCars.
Consumer Reports says it is the world's largest independent product-testing organization. Using its more than 50 labs,
auto test center, and survey research center, the nonprofit rates thousands of products and services annually. Founded in 1936, Consumer
Reports claims over 8 million subscribers to its magazine, website, and other publications. Its advocacy division, Consumers Union, works for
health reform, food and product safety, financial reform, and other consumer issues in Washington, D.C., the states, and in the marketplace.