Are Aging And Accidents Linked?...

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An Age-Old Aviation Question...

By 2030 one in five Americans will be age 60 or older ... a statistic likely to be reflected in the pool of general aviation pilots. A study released last month by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found a link between aging and safety, concluding that drivers over age 65 are more likely to die in car crashes. Despite years of effort by pilot-advocacy groups, the FAA has remained steadfast in its rule that airline pilots must pack it in at age 60, citing study after study that it says show an age-related decline in skills. Yet no such age limit exists for GA pilots -- as long as they can pass an FAA medical exam, they can fly. The AAA study found that drivers over age 65 are almost twice as likely to die in car crashes as drivers age 55 to 64, and it gets worse as they get older -- drivers over 85 were almost four times as likely to die. "As we age, our reaction time and other cognitive skills can diminish," Peter Kissinger, president of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, said in a news release. "For instance, our eyesight deteriorates to such an extent that by age 60 we require 10 times the amount of light to see an object as when we were 16." AAA based its findings on an analysis of 25 years of data involving 4 million injury crashes in Texas. "Second only to teen drivers, older drivers are the second most likely group to sustain injuries or death in traffic crashes," said Kissinger. "It is vital that seniors periodically and honestly review their driving performance."