People aged >65 years are up to 9 times more likely to be seriously injured in a crash than younger people. The reason most commonly cited for this is the increased frailty associated with aging leading to a reduced tolerance to crash forces. However other factors may also impact this risk including differences in size and posture affecting the interaction with vehicle safety systems.
Additionally, we recently found that approximately 25% of older occupants use a comfort accessory, such as seat belt padding, seat base cushions, seat back cushions, and back supports when travelling in cars. We are currently studying whether these accessories impact the safety of older occupants in crashes to develop guidelines for their use.