As the baby boomer population ages, there will be an increasing number of older drivers on the road. Older drivers who become impaired can pose a risk to other motorists and passengers; they are also more at risk of accident and injury. When considering statistics on older drivers, researchers consider any driver older than 65 in the “older driver” population. Both elderly drivers and their loved ones should be aware of these potential risks when on the road.
Our Charlotte car accident attorneys are experienced in helping victims of serious accident and injury, including those collisions involving elderly drivers or passengers.
According to 2013 statistics produced by the National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration, 13 percent of the total U.S. population are older than 65. In 2011, there were 35 million licensed drivers in the United States in the “older driver” category. This is a 21 percent increase since 2002. Additional older drivers on the road can increase the potential for accidents. While some older drivers can still properly manage driving a vehicle, others may suffer loss of vision, hearing loss, dementia and other conditions that can affect the ability to drive.
Frail and elderly drivers or passengers are at a greater risk of fatality on the road. While automobile manufacturers are considering additional safety features for elderly drivers, they can still suffer from additional injuries upon impact. In 2011, 17 percent of all fatal injuries were caused to individuals over 65 years old. Many elderly pedestrians, cyclists or victims of motor vehicle accidents simply cannot recover from broken bones, head injuries, internal organ damage, and other catastrophic injuries.
In some instances, older drivers can be safer than teenage or even middle-aged drivers. Older drivers may be less likely to driver recklessly or speed. Statistically, older drivers are much less likely to be behind the wheel in an alcohol-related crash. However, a slow or overly cautious older driver can also pose additional risks on the highway.
Older pedestrians and cyclists are also at risk of serious injury. Among the 2011 pedestrian fatalities to older drivers, 69 percent of those occurred at intersections. This may be because older pedestrians lose their sight, hearing, or peripheral vision. Older pedestrians may also have a reduced reaction time and are not able to avoid negligent drivers.
Fatalities caused by older drivers are an issue for legislators, family members, and other motorists on the road. Over 77% of these accidents occurred during the daytime and on weekdays, indicating that these older drivers are involved in collisions when conducting their daily routines. If you have an elderly driver in your family, it may be time to assess their abilities. You do not want to wait until it is too late to take away the keys. While no one wants to take away the freedom of an elderly driver, some do not realize that their driving abilities have been impaired overtime. You can also take an elderly driver for a driver’s exam to ensure that they know they rules of the road and that they have full driving capabilities.
If you or someone you love was injured in a motor vehicle accident contact the Lee Law Offices at 800-887-1965.
More Blog Entries:
New Safety Rating For Older Drivers and Young Passengers, May 10, 2013, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog
Elderly at High Risk of North Carolina Pedestrian Accidents? April 29, 2013, Charlotte Car Accident Lawyer Blog