Mature driver

Fatal crash rates continue to drop among older drivers

A recent study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) holds good news for mature drivers: Fatal crash rates are declining, thanks to safer cars and their own good health.

In the study, the IIHS noted that between 1997 and 2012, fatal crash rates per licensed driver fell 42% for drivers age 70 and up, and 30% for middle-aged drivers. That means the growing ranks of aging drivers aren’t making the highways any deadlier, as safety groups once feared.

Those lower crash rates, unfortunately, still don’t always translate to reduced premium costs. Safer cars (with features like crash avoidance technology and side airbags) are expensive to repair when they do get in crashes, and medical-care costs continue to climb. Like all insurers, we adjust rates to reflect actual claims costs.

Staying in the driver’s seat

Drivers age 55 and older can take advantage of low-cost defensive driving courses to further improve their odds of remaining crash-free. Most insurance companies, including PEMCO, offer a modest discount to participating drivers to offset part of the course’s cost.

In Washington, visit the Department of Licensing’s website for a list of approved defensive driving courses. You can choose in-person or online classes. In Oregon, check out this list compiled by the Oregon Department of Transportation. Once you’ve completed the class, you can phone, email, or mail us with the date you completed the course to get the discount.