It's not just getting old that's dangerous

…it’s the older cars older people drive:
IIHS Says Older Drivers More Likely To Die Driving Older Cars (

There is an issue ignored in this analysis… newer cars have controls that are very hard for older drivers to understand. Even if they can afford a new car, they won’t buy one because they don’t want to learn all the new controls to operate it. Try to get your 80 gear old mom a new iPhone and see what happens. Now put her in a new car. It will not end well.


I don’t think you’re giving the elderly enough credit. Someone that is in their 80s has likely figured out how to use an iPhone or Facebook or whatever. In fact I would posit that because cars have gotten so user friendly and safety conscious that it’s safer today than ever for an elderly person to be allowed to drive. Don’t get me wrong, I am not putting my fragile 97 year old grandmother behind the wheel of Corvette, but asserting that cars have more technologically complex interactions discounts people’s ability to adapt. Or, to put it conversely, putting an elderly person in a 50 year old car with manual transmission and no air bags and old-ass brakes doesn’t seem like a solution to me.

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I agree 100%.
My mother saved her money and bought a brand new Buick in 1977. Guess what she is driving now? Yup, same car.
She’s 77 years old, was never very techno-savvy. Yes, she has an iPhone but doesn’t know any of the functions other than Facebook and phone or texting. She knows to only ever press one of 5 buttons on her TV remote, lest my cousin has to come over and get the source back to where she can watch the 10 o’clock news. And her microwave is old enough that my kids don’t know how far to turn the dial to warm up a plate.

Few years ago her Buick needed a transmission replaced, she rented a car so she could visit dad at the care center. I can only imagine how dangerous that was. She had to be sure to be home before dark since the headlight switch wasn’t labeled, nor was the defroster or wiper control. All it had was some nonsense pictographs, without actual words or letters to tell you what you were doing. And the shifter was between the seats, instead of up by the steering wheel.

Add that to the lack of visibility in modern cars and the unfamiliarity of driving a different car, and I shudder to think what could have happened when she was driving that car.


In general I’ll agree with that. But there are many of us who are very technical savvy. I LOVE new tech. I like to learn new tech. Many people get to an age (about 20) where they think they’ve learned all there is and don’t need to learn new things.

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And I think fear of new tech is part of the point of the article, why folks hang on to their cars, and don’t look for safety features when replacing them.

I agree. It’s more a matter of what we are willing to do than unable to do, and also depends on having kept up with new tech so that there isn’t nearly as much to learn. When my wife needs editing on the laptop of photos or spreadsheets, she calls on me to help. Same thing for printing, especially photos. I bought her a Canon Pro 100 photo printer for Christmas a few years ago, and she won’t touch it. She loves the pictures, and I have to print them. Great printer, BTW. It’s one big honking printer, taking up 3/4 of the table, but I guess you need that for a stable platform to make fine photos. It’s not quite professional quality, but close. IIRC, I got it for $135, and the ink cartridges are almost that price. Worth it.

I agree 100% that carmakers add features with little thought about the impact on actual driving. Touch pads to enter commands while the car’s moving? Nutty! Sure, practice enough and you can work it, but there should be a minimal learning curve to any car.

All this driver interface stuff goes away when self driving cars take over, but that a long way off.

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Maybe they can post to FB or dial their phones but they still can’t actually operate the stuff.

This is from direct experience with my 78 year old mother who refused to use a push button wireless phone (not a cell, just wireless) … only her wired DIAL phone. Never used the microwave she insisted we buy her… and she passed away 10 years ago.

Our friend’s 80 year old mom with her iPhone and iPad that calls her daughter when they don’t work because she can’t close the 98 apps she has open and can’t re-boot her phone or iPad even though she’s been shown 50 times.

Our 88 year old neighbor who refuses to replace her 21 year old Lexus SUV because… “she doesn’t want to learn the controls on a new car”.

Some 80 year old folks can learn new tech. But many don’t want to.


That’s going to change as our generation gets older. The folks that are very old now lived in a world that technically did not change very much in 50 years.
I’m almost 65 now and have grown up in a world with constant change. Mostly, I myself was forced to adapt because of work, but what I am trying to say is for us, “change is the norm” so I believe that we will just keep adapting as we age.
I freaked out when they started making us use “TEAMS” in work (same as Zoom) but it didn’t take me long to figure out.


Dial phone or sending a text with Apple CarPlay is easy.
It’s all voice commands. “Call Home”. Send Text to…etc etc.

I know that… You know that… Totally confounds some people… Like setting up Bluetooth in their cars to pair with their phone… Or even if it IS paired, getting Mom or Dad to actually use the voice commands with the proper words… Now that can be an impossible task for some.

Older drivers are more likely to be killed in any type of accident, not just a car accident. Did the studies cited compare older drivers driving newer cars vs older drivers driving older cars?

Yes, higher death rate in the latter.

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I’ve worked as a software engineer/manager and Architect - ease of use is extremely important. There’s a term called “Feature Creep”. Where an app may start out simple and easy to use, but new features keep getting added. For the users who started using the app early on don’t have a problem with the newer app. But many times newer customers find the new app way too complicated. This is a very big problem in software.

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Don’t pile on now guys but I just replaced the battery in the Acura and to hook up the memory saver you had to have the acc on. Needed to shut everything down though so tried to shut the radio off. Asked the wife who drives it how to shut the radio off too but she didn’t know. Never shut it off, just turn the volume down. So I just started trying buttons and finally found one that shut the dang thing off. It’s one thing to read the book and figure something out and then 3 years later remember what it was.


Baby Boomers were not “digital natives” so their struggles with technology are greater than following generations. I am Gen X and grew up in a rapidly changing, mostly digital world. I learned how everything worked and how to get the most out of new tech. I love my new tech in my car and studied the owners manual online before I even picked up the car from the dealer. The day I picked up the car I started adjusting all of the features to my preferences.

Boomers (and older) may hang onto older vehicles due to tech issues with newer cars, but I will always want the latest, greatest, most interesting technology in mine. My father in law drives a 2017 Nissan Rogue and wanted to buy a new one this year and I squashed that. Like others in this thread, I fix his TV settings, phone issues, and computer issues on an almost daily basis. He has adjusted to his current vehicle just fine, but at 86 he has little short term memory now and will not be able to figure anything out on a newer vehicle. He keeps two portable GPS units on the dashboard because he hasn’t been able to figure out how to add addresses to either one, so he just chooses the one that has the address he needs that he stored years ago. Poor guy. We are going to have to take him off the road at night pretty soon because he has almost no night vision left.

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It is only the oldest of the Boomers with this issue. The youngest bunch of Boomers, me, grew up with computers and rapidly changing technology. We are a transitional generation.

I am in my 80 and hate driving a rental car because of the unfamiliarity of the controls.

'I don’t get pictogram. I did not understand that what looks like aq squashed 8 to me was supposed to represent a person until I was talking to tech support and I had the guy laughing hi head off when I was describing what I was seeing on screen.

I have n Ever used anything but a mac desktop and don’t know more than 5% of it’s capabilities. I am an analog guy in a digital world. If I am shown how to do something new and don’t use it regularly, it is gone.

None of this bothers me much. I have more to do than I have time for and don’t want to waste my remaining time trying the impossible task of catching up with everyone else on new te.


What a steaming load of manure! Assuming proper maintenance, and no rust or body damage, there is no reason to believe that an old car is any less safe today than it was when it rolled off the assembly line however many years ago. The fact that the “cutting edge” of new vehicle technology has improved, and new cars are much safer is really irrelevant. If a particular car was safe to drive 10 years ago, or 20 years ago, or 30 years ago, and it is still in good condition, then it is surely still safe to drive today.

In fact, the biggest “safety problem” in our cars today is driver distraction–typically due to people typing/texting/looking at apps and websites on their cellphone while driving. Even today’s “high tech” nanny features can’t save you from that. However, if you drive carefully, pay attention, and always wear your seat belt, just about any car from the past 35 years should be plenty safe (assuming no rust or body damage, and proper maintenance). Most people who drive very old cars take excellent care of them. They wouldn’t still exist otherwise.

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