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Safety Concerns for Older Drivers

Wednesday, December 12, 2018By Nina Shapirshteyn

Experts predict that by 2025, drivers 65 and older will account for 25 percent of the total driving population. Although seniors fare better than drivers in other age groups in terms of safety, they are more likely to be injured or killed in collisions. Existing health problems may exacerbate injuries incurred in crashes or make it more difficult to recover from a crash. According to AAA, after teen drivers, seniors have the highest rate of death from crashes per mile driven despite the relatively low number of miles that seniors log.

Older drivers present unique safety concerns because of deteriorating health conditions. Nearly 80 percent of people in their 70s are diagnosed with arthritis which makes it difficult and painful to twist and turn while driving. Weak muscles and impaired flexibility, in addition to limited range of motion, hamper several key driving functions such as turning the steering wheel and accelerating or braking. In addition, almost three quarters of drivers age 65 or older use one or more medications, but many do not know the impact of these medications on their ability to drive.

A new study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that the lack of communication regarding health and other issues between seniors and doctors or family members may contribute to unsafe driving situations. Many senior drivers do not recognize or report health problems that could impair their abilities on the road. According to the study, 83 percent of older drivers have never discussed their driving limitations with family or medical professionals. Of the seniors that have addressed their driving restrictions with their doctors, 15 percent do so only after they have been involved in a car accident.  

The study recommended that seniors discuss their driving capabilities and concerns with others. Some of the important topics include health concerns that could impact driving, safety issues like falling asleep while driving, and future plans for continuing to drive. This dialogue may not only help address health concerns that affect driving; it could also be important in ensuring that seniors remain mobile throughout their senior years. Indeed, research has confirmed that maintaining mobility for all people regardless of age is essential for mental health. Older adults who quit driving are almost twice as likely to be diagnosed with depression than their driving peers. Moreover, seniors who stopped driving are five times more likely to be admitted to long-term care facilities.

If you or a member of your family suffered injury or death as a result of negligence or a defective automobile, contact the attorneys Alexander Law Group, LLP. Our exceptional personal injury lawyers will answer your questions and get you the maximum compensation that is possible. Call 888.777.1776 or contact us online.

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