Americans are healthier and living longer than ever before. Elderly drivers can be found all over the roadways in Florida. Some people continue to drive even when it is no longer safe for them to do so. In general, elderly drivers are safer because they are more likely to use seatbelts, observe speed limits, and not drive drunk. However, elderly drivers are also more likely to be injured or killed in car accidents due to their age-related vulnerabilities. In addition, there are some age-related factors that can contribute to accidents.
Factors in Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers
There are a number of age-related factors associated with elderly drivers that can contribute to accidents.
- Arthritis—close to 80% of people in their 70s suffers from some sort of arthritis. Crippling arthritis can make it difficult to maneuver and handle the controls of a vehicle. Arthritis can result in difficulty turning, flexing, and twisting.
- Muscle Weakness—older people have weaker muscles, and this can result in problems gripping and turning the steering wheel and pressing down on the brake or the accelerator.
- Medications—more than 75% of drivers aged 65 or older take some type of medication. The side effects of some of these medications can affect an individual’s ability to drive.
- Cognitive Decline—some people experience some degree of cognitive decline as they get older. This can result in delays in making decisions and the inability to react to dangerous situations on the road quickly.
- Vision Issues—as we get older, our visual acuity decreases. Many elderly drivers have serious problems seeing, even with glasses or corrective lenses. This can make it substantially more difficult to drive safely.
The Elderly as Accident Victims
Due to their fragile condition, elderly individuals are more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident. Per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase beginning at 75 years old and rise sharply after age 80. Elderly people have bones that are more likely to fracture or other medical complications that can lead to serious injury.
Contact an Experienced Car Accident Attorney
If you were injured in a car accident, you should consult with an experienced accident attorney. Gregg Goldfarb has been helping individuals injured in car accidents for over 20 years. Contact us online or call us at 305-374-7000 to schedule a free consultation.