According to data which has been recently published, there has been a significant rise in the number if over 50′s involved in road accidents in North Yorkshire, amidst a steep rise in the number of pensioners. The statistics show that the number of people aged over 50 involved in a motor accident in North Yorkshire rose by 15% in 2010. And with the number of elderly people living in North Yorkshire set to rise over the next few years, there are concerns that this trend could continue. For example, by 2015 it has been predicted that the county’s overall population will reach 607,000. Of this number around 273,000 are likely to be aged over 50 with nearly 20,000 being aged over 85. Compare this to 2001 when there was just 217,000 people aged over 50 in Yorkshire. Over 50′s now account for 41% of the population in North Yorkshire.
Tim Madgwick, North Yorkshire Police’s Deputy Chief Constable explained the problem commenting that…”…people are living longer and the older population is increasing which naturally means we can expect a rise in casualties involving this age group.” He added that skills and confidence behind the wheel could also be affected as older drivers tend to do less driving than they perhaps used to.
The council is making efforts to try and reduce the number of accidents by running a number of road-shows which provide help and advice for older drivers after a series of similar events were run last year in towns across the county. Local councillor Gareth Dadd said… “...the fact that we have seen such a significant rise in the number of people aged over 50 being injured on the county’s roads is obviously a matter of significant concern. Obviously one casualty or fatality on the roads is one too many, and we are making every effort we can to ensure all motorists are given road safety advice to prevent accidents in the future.”
Although overall road accident numbers are down on three years ago, there has been a 3% rise in the number of fatalities, with many blaming ‘rogue’ motorcyclists. North Yorkshires country roads which go through the Yorkshire dales and the North York moors appeal to those with motorbikes. However, country roads are often the most dangerous type of road because they are windy and driver view can be obscured by hedges and blind bends. Other problems can be a slippery surface as well as the danger of slower moving vehicles. If it is icy or snowing, often it is only main roads that get gritted increasing further the danger of an accident.