Posted in Car Accident on November 21, 2017
Drivers face the highest risk of being involved in accidents when they’re in their teens and early 20s. From that point forward, their risks decline until they become senior citizens. As drivers age, their risks increase due to a variety of physical and mental changes.
Seniors can still drive safely for many years, but it’s important that they and their loved ones are aware of the changes that can occur that can increase their risks of accidents. Having a plan in place for seniors who should limit their driving or who should stop driving altogether can help make the transition process easier without making them feel like they’re losing their independence.
In addition to the risks that seniors face due to their own limitations, they also face higher injury risks during accidents. Seniors are more susceptible to serious injuries that become disabling or even life-threatening, and their ability to heal and bounce back from injuries can be compromised as they age.
At Matt Hardin Law, our Bowling Green auto accident lawyers are here to help drivers and passengers of all ages who were hurt in accidents that were caused by negligent drivers. If you or someone you love was injured in a crash that wasn’t your fault, get in touch with us today. Just dial (270) 282-0110 or complete a free online form.
Why Do Seniors Have an Increased Risk of Auto Accidents?
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that there were 47.8 million adult drivers 65 years old or older on American roadways in 2015. As the Baby Boomer generation ages, the number of senior drivers and their percentage among all drivers will increase significantly.
Aging affects both the body and the mind. Age-related conditions that can increase the risk of crashes include:
Despite the physical and mental ailments that can increase the risks that seniors face, there is good news for the older population. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that seniors have a high incidence of seat belt usage. In fact, drivers who are age 70 and older have an 88 percent likelihood of buckling up when they drive or ride in vehicles, which is the highest of all age groups surveyed by the NHTSA.
In addition, seniors are more likely than drivers in other age groups to limit their driving during dangerous conditions or times of day, such as at night, during inclement weather, or on high speed roads compared to other drivers. They’re also much less likely to drive while impaired or intoxicated, as only six percent of drivers age 75 or older who were involved in fatal crashes had blood alcohol contents of 0.08 or higher in 2015.
How Can Seniors Reduce Their Driving-Related Risks?
Whether you’re a senior citizen or the concerned family member of a senior, it’s important to be aware of the risk factors for age-related accidents and how to mitigate them.
Some important steps to take include:
As seniors age, they should continue to be evaluated for any conditions that can increase their risk of accidents. It’s also important for them to tell loved ones if they ever feel scared while driving, if they receive traffic citations, or if they’re involved in accidents.
Alternative Arrangements for Seniors Who Can No Longer Drive Safely
Even the healthiest and most proactive seniors may face a day when they’re no longer able to drive safely. When that happens, it’s important to have a plan ready for them to maintain their independence and ability to complete daily errands.
Alternative solutions include:
Giving up car keys can be a difficult choice for many seniors, as they may feel like they’re giving up their independence. But it’s an important decision to make, and with the help of their friends and family, it may be a decision that saves their lives.