Do older cars result in more accidents?
When it comes to motor vehicle accident rates in Washington, many factors are involved. Reckless driving, driving while impaired or tired and even the average age of drivers have a significant impact on the rate at which car accidents happen.
But a factor you might not be as familiar with is the age of the vehicle itself. Older cars are more likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents, and the outcomes from those accidents are also quite a bit worse than accidents involving newer cars.
Why older cars increase risk
There are two main factors behind the increased car accident risk for older cars. First, older cars tend to belong to drivers at the very ends of the age spectrum. In other words, the youngest and the oldest drivers are more likely to be driving an older car than more middle-aged drivers. Older and younger drivers tend to be the riskiest age demographics, so it stands to reason that older vehicles are involved in more accidents by that connection alone.
The second factor is that older vehicles tend to have fewer safety features and also are less likely to be well-maintained. Lack of any of the following either makes accidents more likely or results in more dangerous accidents:
- Properly maintained brakes or tires
- Passenger side airbags and/or side airbags
- ESC (electronic stability control)
- Advanced driver assistance systems like collision warnings and lane departure warning
As a result of their fewer safety features, motor vehicle accidents involving older cars produce more fatalities and serious injuries.
It’s worth noting, however, that the cost of the vehicles doesn’t correspond as strongly with accidents. A less expensive car is often just as safe as a more expensive car, statistically. The age of the car is the far bigger factor.