Advancements in medicine and other fields have led to adults living longer, healthier lives. As a result, seniors share the road at advanced age. But there can be some common misconceptions when it comes to older drivers, which is why it’s important to know the facts.
Are seniors safer drivers or are they at greater risk causing an accident?
There are two opposing theories when it comes to senior driving. Some believe that seniors tend to be safer drivers because they’re less likely to engage in dangerous behaviors such as speeding or texting. They more often wear seatbelts and don’t drive while impaired.
But on the other side, some argue that senior drivers are at greater risk of causing an accident because health conditions and declining cognitive ability may impair driving ability.
It is no question if they can suffer serious injuries in a traffic accident. Again, conditions related to age and health mean bones can quickly break and a longer healing time.
What might increase risk of a senior driver getting in a crash?
Seniors may simply be at greater risk of health conditions that can impair driving ability. Vision, physical health, and cognitive functioning are three main areas that affect driving abilities.
For instance, decreased vision can make it difficult to see other vehicles. Reduced physical strength can interfere with the ability to quickly turn the steering wheel to avoid an obstacle.
Impaired cognitive functioning can affect judgment behind the wheel. Medical conditions are another important issue. According to AAA, 80 percent of those in their 70s suffer from arthritis.
Reduced mobility can interfere with steering, accelerating and braking. This isn’t taking into consideration other serious ailments that can impact driving ability, such as diabetes and heart conditions.
Medications are another cause for concern. AAA reports that 75 percent of drivers over the age of 64 take at least one medication. Some of these drugs could have side effects that impair driving skills. It could be an even bigger problem for those taking several different medications.
It’s also important to consider how health and frailty contributes to the risk of severe or fatal injuries in an accident. Many senior drivers with weakened bones have a greater chance of sustaining fractures in a car accident. AAA also reports that those ages 65 and up have a fatality rate 17 times higher than people between 25 and 64.
The good news is that many older drivers recognize when it’s time to hang up the keys for good. Or they at least avoid driving in certain conditions such as when it’s raining out or after dark. But others may need a little more convincing from concerned family members.
How a Senior Driver May Impact a Car Accident Claim
Just because the other driver is older, it doesn’t always mean he or she was at fault. It’s important to determine which driver acted in a negligent manner, regardless of age. If there is a dispute or difficulty determining liability and you suffered serious injuries, seek legal advice with Rob Levine & Associates. Call us at 800-LAW-1222 or contact us online to schedule your consultation.