10 Most Dangerous Counties for Older Drivers and Tips To Stay Safer

Older folks, take note: Some counties are more dangerous for drivers over 65 than others, according to research by Dismuke Law. Older drivers have unique concerns and higher accident rates than other segments of the population.

Besides (possibly) avoiding the counties on this list, we’ll share some steps older drivers can take to minimize their risk of an accident. 


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Board-certified personal injury attorney Dismuke Law examined fatal crash records from 2017 to 2021 using National Highway Traffic Safety Administration data. Researchers focused on drivers over 65 years old to determine the most dangerous counties for older drivers. Counties with less than 50 older drivers were excluded from the study. 

1: White County, Georgia

White County, Georgia.
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White County, Georgia, is the most dangerous county in the United States for older drivers. Thirty-four percent of drivers involved in fatal crashes were over 65 years old. That amounted to 17 older drivers in total.  

2: Worth County, Georgia

Worth County, Georgia.
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Worth County had 19 older drivers involved in fatal accidents between 2017 and 2021. The overall percentage of deadly crashes involving drivers over 65 was 31.67%.

3: Effingham County, Illinois

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Effingham County is home to 34,688 people in south-central Illinois. Between 2017 and 2021, it had 57 fatal crashes, 18 of which involved drivers over age 65. 

4: Dubuque County, Iowa 

Dubuque County, Iowa.
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There were 16 older drivers involved in fatal car crashes in Dubuque County, Iowa. This amounted to a crash fatality rate for older drivers of 31.37%.  

5: Sumter County, Florida

Sumter County, Florida.
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Sumter County, Florida, is home to one of the fastest-growing retirement communities in the U.S. It also sees a significant number of fatal crashes involving older drivers. Dismuke Law found that 30.65% of fatal car accidents involved a driver over 65. 

6: Somerset County, Maine 

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According to U.S. Census Bureau data, 23% of residents in Somerset County, Maine are over 65. However, older drivers were involved in over 30% of fatal accidents. 

7: Northumberland County, Pennsylvania

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There are only around 90,000 residents in Northumberland County, Pennsylvania, which makes its 76 fatal crashes over the five years Dismuke Law studied seem low. Still, just over 30% of them involved older drivers. 

8: Haywood County, North Carolina 

Haywood County, North Carolina.
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In Haywood County, 30% of fatal accidents involved drivers over age 65. Still, according to local news reports, Haywood County ranks as one of the best places to retire in North Carolina. 

9: Beaufort County, North Carolina

Beaufort County, North Carolina.
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Beaufort County is another popular retirement location, but it may be dangerous for older drivers. Dismuke Law researchers found that 30% of fatal car crashes involved a driver over 65. 

10: San Jacinto County, Texas

San Jacinto County, Texas.
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Only twenty-three percent of San Jacinto County’s population is over 65 years old. However, 29.63% of fatal crashes involved an older driver. 

A Growing Population Segment

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were 48 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in 2020. That’s a 68% increase from 2000. 

Good For Wellbeing

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Driving retains independence, which is crucial for successful aging. However, it also becomes more risky as people age. 

According to the National Institute of Aging, changes in health status are the major cause of accidents among older people. These changes could be part of normal aging or due to a specific health condition.     

Trouble Hearing Or Seeing

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As people age, their hearing and vision capabilities typically decline. It can become difficult to hear sirens or see things at night, making driving more risky. 


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Medications can cause drowsiness, lightheadedness, or reduced alertness. While some drugs carry driving warnings, the National Institute of Aging warns that individual reactions vary. Older people should collaborate with their doctors to identify the safest options.

Slower Reflexes

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Stiff joints, weaker muscles, and slower reflexes are all common with age. The inability to move quickly and respond to a dangerous situation makes older people more prone to accidents. 

By the Numbers

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According to CDC data, approximately 20 seniors pass away and 540 seniors are injured in auto accidents each day. Drivers over 70 have the highest crash fatality rate, mainly due to increased vulnerability to injury. 

Ways to Stay Safe

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Few seniors want to stop driving, and in many cases, they don’t need to. The National Institute of Aging lists several things people over 65 can do to limit their risks on the road. 

Consider Limitations

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Some older drivers do well by setting limits for themselves. This might include not driving after dark, not driving in the rain, or avoiding certain routes that include busy highways. 

Stay Active 

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Staying physically active can improve strength and mobility, making older drivers less vulnerable to injury in the event of a crash. It can also help them respond faster to changing road conditions. 

Invest in a Safer Car 

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New car models often include safety mechanisms that can benefit older drivers, including backup cameras and lane sensors. Ideally, drivers over 65 should also look for vehicles with larger mirrors and good visibility. 

Limit Distractions

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The National Institute of Aging suggests that older drivers limit distractions, including eating, drinking, and talking with passengers. If drivers need to use their phones for navigation, investing in a hands-free navigation system with voice commands is best. 

Be Honest With Yourself

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The National Institute of Aging also says older drivers should check in with themselves regularly. If they feel lightheaded or drowsy, driving isn’t a good idea. They should also bring any concerns about medications, hearing loss, or vision loss to their doctor. 

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