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DRIVING DEMAND: The Good News Is . . .

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If laws are enacted that require elderly motorists to have their driving abilities retested annually, it might mean fewer accidents. But it could also put a small dent in the auto industry's sales, says a recent issue of Fast Track News, a newsletter published by Newark, Del.-based Automotive Resources Inc. to cover the automotive sector. 'Consequences of any rules regarding retesting driving skills of older Americans will be a reduction of demand for new and used vehicles,' says the article. 'Whenever the number of potential drivers declines, the demand will decrease commensurately. The degree or aggressiveness of the program would determine the decline. Although the numbers would be expected to be small, they could affect specific large cars that are traditionally bought by those over 65.' Conceding that such analysis may sound 'morbid,' the newsletter notes that a decline in the number of auto accidents would also dampen demand for replacement parts and services (as well as for new cars to replace those wrecked beyond repair). The article cites survey data showing a large majority of Americans - including the elderly themselves - believe drivers age 70 and over should be required to pass an annual test to renew their licenses.
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