As baby boomers mature, the population of older drivers is growing larger.
In fact, within the last decade, the number of older drivers has increased
by more than 20% nationwide: in 2012, according to the
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), there were about 23.1 million licensed drivers age 70 and older.
Here at home, the Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety reports that people
age 65 and older comprise almost 18% of Missouri's licensed drivers.
Unfortunately, it's a fact of life: there are several unavoidable symptoms
and conditions that accompany old age - and some of these can dramatically
increase an older driver's risk of being involved in an
auto accident. Old age can often cause a loss of coordination, cognitive function, or
eyesight, along with a decline in other skills. When motorists start experiencing
these symptoms, it may be time for them to stop driving - for their safety,
and for the safety of others on the road.
It's certainly not easy conversation to have with a parent or grandparent,
but it's crucial to talk with your older family members regularly
to ensure that they're still able to safely operate a motor vehicle.
If you think they might be at risk because of an age-related condition,
experts encourage you to speak up, even though it might be a tough subject
to address. Ultimately, however, remind yourself that you're bringing
up the topic in the interest of your loved one's safety and well-being.
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asks you to consider these questions to help evaluate if you or
a loved one should retire from your driving career:
- Are you getting lost when taking a familiar route?
- Are you finding new scratches or dents on your vehicle?
- Are you getting ticketed for a number of driving violations?
- Are you finding road signs or road markings to be suddenly overwhelming?
- Do you find yourself driving too fast or too slow for no apparent reason?
- Are you getting into car accidents or often near-misses?
- Are you currently taking medications that suggest that you refrain from
operating a motor vehicle?
- Have you received a recommendation from your doctor to stop or reduce driving?
- Do you have health problems that could affect your driving ability?
Data from NHTSA indicates that 5,560 people age 65 and older died (and
an estimated 214,000 more suffered injuries) in 2012 car accidents throughout
the U.S. Compared to statistics from 2011, car accident related injuries
and fatalities in this age group increased by 9%. Here in Missouri, in
2012, 142 people were killed and 769 suffered injuries in accidents involving
a driver age 65 or older, according to the Highway Patrol.
At Aaron Sachs and Associates, we represent car accident victims who suffer
injuries caused by careless or negligent drivers. If you've been involved
in a car accident in New Madrid, Perryville, Sikeston, Jackson or any
of the surrounding areas in Southeast Missouri, our law firm may be able
to assist you. For more information,
call us toll-free at 1-888-777-AUTO. For your convenience, we are available 24/7/365.
Attorney meetings by appointment only