Older drivers are much more likely to die in intersection crashes, and with each passing year the simple task of making a left turn becomes more challenging, according to a report released Wednesday.
The exhaustive compilation of years of research underscores a single, dispiriting bottom line: Baby boomers began turning 65 last year, and as more members join the ranks of elderly, their inability to navigate traffic is forecast to result in more highway deaths.
If there is an antidote, it’s one that will help all drivers: making the roads and the vehicles on them easier and safer to negotiate. Another safeguard for a swelling, less able population: other transportation options and more self-contained communities.
In 2009, 5,288 people age 65 and older were killed and 187,000 were injured in traffic crashes. They accounted for 16 percent of all traffic deaths and 8 percent of the injured, but they accounted for 13 percent of the population, according to data from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The TRIP report said the number of deaths among people age 65 and older grew to 5,750 in 2010 even as NHTSA’s data showed that overall traffic deaths hit a record low.
The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say crash deaths per mile traveled begin to increase markedly after age 75 with deterioration in vision and the ability to reason and remember, as well as physical challenges such as arthritis or reduced strength.
Conn. prosecutor weighs charges in Christmas blaze
NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A prosecutor is deciding whether to file criminal charges in the deaths of three girls and their grandparents in an accidental blaze on Christmas morning that authorities say started after a contractor discarded a bag of fireplace ashes at the tony shoreline home.
The case has been followed closely in part because of the high profile of the girls’ mother, fashion advertising executive Madonna Badger, who escaped the fire along with her friend Michael Borcina, a contractor who had been renovating the $1.7 million Victorian home on Long Island Sound.
While investigators say the blaze was clearly accidental, it’s not uncommon for people, including family members, to be charged with crimes such as involuntary manslaughter for unintentionally starting deadly fires.
Afghan soldier kills 2 US troops as protests rage over Quran burning
KABUL, Afghanistan — On a day when President Obama personally apologized for the burning of Qurans at an American-run military base, violence over the incident escalated ominously with the killing of two American troops by an Afghan army soldier during a demonstration in eastern Afghanistan.
At least 13 people have been reported killed in unrest that broke out after Afghan laborers at the Bagram air base discovered late Monday that discarded Qurans were being disposed of in the incinerator used to burn trash.
The fury appeared unabated despite the apology from Obama, reported Thursday by Afghan President Hamid Karzai’s office. The presidential palace said a letter received from the U.S. president conveyed deep regret and offered assurances that “the error was inadvertent” and that those responsible would be held accountable.
Anti-foreigner sentiment is never far below the surface in Afghanistan, and in this deeply religiously conservative society, the episode triggered some of the most concerted expressions of outrage in years against the decade-long U.S. and Western presence. Foreign missions, including the U.S. Embassy, put sharp restrictions on the movement of personnel, and most international aid and dev elopment firms put their foreign staffs on lockdown.
The shooting deaths of the two American troops took place at a base in the Khogyani district of Nangarhar province, said district governor Mohammad Hassan. He said hundreds of protesters had gathered outside the base and were chanting anti-American slogans when the attack took place. The assailant then escaped into the crowd, he said.