Although Americans are healthier and living longer than ever, many seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in 2017, there were 44 million drivers that were aged 65 or over. Most elderly drivers recognize their limitations and stay off the road or avoid driving at night and in unfamiliar areas. However, some elderly drivers are not ready to put away their keys and refuse to recognize their driving limitations. This can lead to dangerous situations on the road and serious injuries.
Common Factors in Accidents Caused by Elderly Drivers
While in some situations, elderly drivers are safer in that they tend to be better about obeying speed limits and wearing seatbelts, there are some common factors that lead to accidents with elderly drivers, including:
- Mobility Issues—many individuals over age 70 suffer from arthritis or other conditions that make it more difficult for them to move like they used to. Inflammation of the joints can make turning a steering wheel or pressing on the brake painful. In addition, weakened muscles reduce flexibility and range of motion. These factors can lead to difficulty steering and the inability to respond quickly to hazards in the road.
- Medications—more than 75% of drivers age 65 or over are taking at least one medication. Many individuals don’t have any idea of how their medication may affect their ability to drive safely. Some medications can affect reaction time and decision making, which can be dangerous on the road.
- Vision Issues—the acuity of our vision decreases as we age, and many elderly drivers have serious problems seeing, even with corrective lenses. This can make driving substantially more difficult.
- Mental Acuity—for some elderly drivers, the ability to make quick decisions is decreased as the brain slows down. This can mean slower response time to road conditions.
Elderly Drivers as Car Accident Victims
In addition to being the cause of car accidents, elderly drivers are also more likely to be seriously injured if they are involved in a car accident. Weakened bones can lead to an increased likelihood of bone fractures as the result of an accident. Other medical complications can lead to serious injury or even death.
Contact a New York Car Accident Attorney
If you’ve been seriously injured in a car accident, you should have your case evaluated by an experienced accident attorney. At Bonina & Bonina, P.C., we have been helping the victims of car accidents in New York for over 50 years. Contact us online or call us at 1-888-MEDLAW1 to schedule your free consultation. Home and hospital visits are available. Se habla español.