NHTSA Estimates 40 Percent of Fatal Crashes Will Be Due to Age-Related Difficulties in 2025
A report by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration estimates that by the year 2025, around 40 percent of all fatal car accidents in the United States will be due to age-related difficulties, including impairments of vision and cognitive abilities.
The Tennessee Highway Safety Office says that vision for most adults begins to decline at around age 45, and for some people, the decline in clarity and acuity can’t be completely corrected with glasses, contacts lenses, or surgery. In addition, older adults are also prone to physical conditions such as arthritis that can impair fine motor skills, making it more difficult for them to drive safely.
Finally, the aging process can cause adults to experience slower reaction times and a reduced ability to process information quickly. Many conditions associated with aging are treated with medications, but the medications prescribed can have side effects that can increase the risk of accidents, such as drowsiness, impaired judgment, and fatigue.
4 Things Senior Drivers Should Know about Getting Behind the Wheel
In 2012, it’s reported that there were 36 million licensed drivers 65 or older on roadways in the United States. While being able to drive is an important aspect of staying independent and mobile as an older adult, it can also put adults at risk of being involved in accidents—especially when certain aspects of their health or their senses begin to decline.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Nashville auto accident attorneys hope that all senior drivers are aware of these four important facts about the challenges they may face behind the wheel:
- The number of senior drivers increased 34 percent from 1999 to 2012.
The Baby Boomer generation began in 1946 and ended in 1964. That means the oldest Boomers are now 70 years old and the youngest are 52. Because that group makes up such a large percentage of the population in 2016, the number of senior drivers on roadways in Tennessee and throughout the country will only increase in the coming years.
- Fatalities become more common with drivers at ages 70-74 and highest ages 85 and above.
As the body ages, it becomes more susceptible to injuries and slower to heal when trauma occurs. That means senior drivers who are involved in car accidents are more likely to suffer life-threatening injuries. They are also more likely to suffer serious complications because of their injuries and need life-saving surgery and other medical interventions.
- Nearly 600 seniors are injured in crashes every day.
Although the percentage of seniors who are injured in accidents every day is lower than it is for other adults, they are still at high risk of getting hurt in car accidents. Around 220,000 seniors are injured every year in auto collisions in the U.S. every year.
- Seniors can reduce their risks by driving safely and driving at safe times.
Studies show that despite their increased risk of injuries and death, seniors are among the safest drivers on the roadway when it comes to following traffic laws, wearing seat belts, and avoiding alcohol and drugs. They also are less likely to drive during potentially dangerous times, such as at night and during bad weather.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends that senior drivers take the following steps to improve their physical and mental fitness, which can go a long way in helping them stay safe behind the wheel:
- Exercise regularly to promote good blood flow and increase flexibility
- Get annual vision exams
- Plan routes before driving
- Leave plenty of distance between your vehicle and the vehicle in front of you
- Avoid distractions while driving
The facts show that seniors drivers are among the safest on the roadway, and that means many who are seriously injured in accidents aren’t at fault for the crashes. Whether you’re a senior driver or you know someone who is, our Nashville auto accident attorneys can help you recover compensation if you were involved in an accident that was caused by a negligent driver.
To get in touch with our legal team, just dial (615) 200-1111 or complete a free online consultation form. We have two decades of experience fighting for the rights of injured victims, and we know what it takes to win.