Did you know that there are more drivers over the age of 70 on the roads today than ever before? In 2014, there were approximately 24.4 million licensed drivers over the age of 69, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). While elderly drivers often drive fewer miles than other age groups, IIHS reports that older drivers are now driving more than in the past and are keeping their licenses longer. These factors are concerning because there is a potential that older drivers are more likely to be involved in serious crashes than younger drivers.
Reasons Elderly Are More Prone To Accidents
One of the reasons elderly drivers are a concern on the roads is that with age, one’s driving capability is often affected. Here are some age-related changes that affect an elderly driver’s ability to drive safely:
- Failing vision. When people age, vision is often negatively impacted due to glaucoma, cataracts, macular degeneration, and other health factors. As a result, many elderly drivers aren’t able to see as clearly as they used to. In fact, many senior drivers fail to see small motorcycles, can’t determine how fast another vehicle is traveling, and can’t judge the distance between their car and another vehicle. The truth of the matter is that many seniors with failing vision contribute to their fair share of collisions. Seniors should get their eyes checked regularly and wear glasses or contacts with up-to-date prescriptions.
- Declining memory. Many older drivers suffer from confusion and the ability to reason and remember. Unfortunately, many elderly people live with dementia and Alzheimer’s, which can be factors in traffic accidents due to a decline in cognitive functioning.
- Weakening physical body. Many seniors suffer from weaker muscles, limited range of motion, reduced flexibility, arthritis, and other health conditions that make it difficult for them to physically grip and turn the wheel, turn their heads, and press the pedals.
- Taking multiple medications. Most seniors take several prescription medications and over-the-counter medicines to deal with their declining health; however, many elderly drivers aren’t aware that medications can impact their driving performance.
Injured By An Elderly Driver? Contact Shevlin Smith Today
It is important to note that age alone does not determine one’s ability to drive safely. Just because an older driver is involved in a crash doesn’t mean that the collision is his or her fault. In fact, there are many car accidents involving seniors that are caused by other drivers. If you are an older driver injured in an auto accident caused by someone else’s negligence, or if you have been injured in a crash involving an elderly driver, please give our office a call at (703) 721-4233 to review the specifics of your case. We would be happy to provide you with a free consultation and let you know how we can help you.