California residents who own an older vehicle may do so for financial reasons, but they know that the risk they run for a crash increases since the vehicle lacks certain key safety features found in newer models. The risk is even higher if they are newly licensed teens or have reached the age of 65 or above.

Older cars among teens and seniors

The fact is that teens and adults 65 and older face the highest risk for a car accident. The latter die in car crashes at a higher rate than among any other age group. Now, a recent study has found that it’s precisely these two age groups that most often drive older cars.

Finances do play a part. Drivers from lower-income neighborhoods, regardless of age, tend to own older vehicles. The age of a lower-income teen’s vehicle is, on average, twice that of a higher-income teen’s vehicle. Lower-income teens are 35% less likely to own a car with side airbags compared to their higher-income counterparts. With lower-income seniors, it was 53% less likely.

Study focuses on ESC, side airbags

The study, conducted by Philadelphia researchers and using eight years’ worth of New Jersey crash data, highlighted how most older vehicles don’t come with electronic stability control or side airbags. The former, in particular, can be as effective as seatbelts in preventing crash fatalities.

When victims can file a claim

Not everyone injured in a car crash can pursue a personal injury case. To see if you have a valid claim under California’s comparative negligence law, you may want to speak with a lawyer. If it holds up, the lawyer may bring in investigators to gather proof and other experts to determine how much will be spent in future medical treatments. The lawyer may then negotiate for a settlement.