Is the Risk of Car Accidents Higher With Elderly Drivers?
Almost every day there is news that an elderly driver has been involved in a car accident. And the fault is often attributed to their age. Are these cases unique or is it a simple case of media bias in reporting? Whatever the case, if you’ve been injured by an elderly driver, an auto accident attorney can help.
Unfortunately, the facts show that elderly drivers are more likely to be involved in a car accident compared to other drivers. There are close to 40 million licensed elderly drivers in the US and data released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reveal the following facts about these seniors:
- The number of licensed senior drivers has increased by at least 50 percent over the past 2 decades
- Elderly drivers over the age of 70 are allowed to drive in every state as long as they have a valid license.
- Drivers over the age of 70, on average drive nearly 50% fewer miles than young drivers in between ages 35-55. However, over the past two decades, the number of miles driven by seniors has steadily been increasing.
- In 2016, over 7,400 senior drivers were killed and close to 300,000 required treatment in the emergency department as a result of a car accident. In real terms, this equals nearly 800 crashes and 20 senior car drivers being killed on American roads every day.
Seniors And Accidents
There is no longer any question that as people age and drive, the risk of getting into a road accident also increases significantly. There are many reasons for this, and some of them include the following:
- Nearly 50-80% of the senior population suffers from moderate to severe arthritis, which makes it difficult for them to move their joints.
- With age, the muscles become weaker, the joints become rigid, and the senior is unable to grip and turn the steering wheel, open windows or even quickly press the brake.
- Nearly 75 percent of the senior population who drives are on one or more medications that may impair concentration or driving performance.
- When seniors are involved in a car accident, their frail states makes them 17 times more likely to die compared to younger people.
- When seniors are involved in an accident, the risk of injuring pedestrians, bicyclists and other vehicles is also much higher compared to accidents caused by young people.
- While seniors drive slow, they are often involved in multi-vehicle collisions, and because of their poor eyesight they often fail to stop or yield at stop signs.
One major concern with seniors driving is that they are more likely to injure other pedestrians and bicycles. Many seniors have poor vision, loss of peripheral vision and/or slow reaction times. In addition, bad weather, traffic congestion, and slippery roads also put senior drivers at a high risk of causing accidents. An auto accident lawyer sees it all the time.
Unfortunately many seniors past the age of 75-80 cannot operate a car safely, and as a result, many states have started to implement special provisions for older drivers who wish to renew their license. This means that the senior has to undergo a medical check-up, vision and hearing assessment, and fitness to drive test. Some states also require more frequent renewals of the license and participating in a road test. These are generally conducted for the safety of the elderly driver as well as other people on the road. The laws are not designed to hurt people nor create unnecessary problems or complications for them. These provisions are necessary to ensure that if senior drivers are on the road, they have the mental and physical capability to take proper decisions and manage their vehicle properly.
Contact An Auto Accident Lawyer Today
Contact an auto accident lawyer at Burnetti, P.A. for more information regarding car accidents. If you were involved in a car accident and were hit by an elderly patient, you can discuss the specifics of the accident with our car accident attorneys. The more details you provide, the better can be the outcome. If you are an elderly driver and were involved in an accident, you can talk to our car accident lawyer. Sometimes, elderly patients are unnecessarily blamed for accidents that are not their fault. Medications can also play a role in causing accidents. We could help you defend yourself if you were not entirely to blame for a car accident. Call us today, and one of our car accident lawyers will be happy to assist you.