More elderly drivers are on the roads than ever before, according to an Associated Press review. While some older drivers are able to function and drive safely, others aren’t and don’t want to give up their keys. When this happens, they not only endanger themselves but others on the road with them.
Such was the case when a 100-year-old driver backed up over a group of young schoolchildren in Los Angeles recently. Sadly, this situation is not unique. Many older drivers are involved in serious crashes in Florida and throughout this nation.
According to the Institute for Highway Safety, the crash rate for senior drivers increases in the 70s, with a sharp rise at age 80. Those drivers 85 and older still have the highest rate of fatal accidents per mile driven.
Common Causes of Older-Age Driving Accidents in Florida
Older drivers often suffer from the following:
- Arthritis – this illness and other health issues can cause older drivers to have slower reflexes and have a harder time checking blind spots and driving safely.
- Dementia – when an older driver suffers from dementia, he or she may forget the road rules for a moment and cause a serious hazard.
- Vision impairment – many older drivers avoid nighttime driving due to their vision deterioration; however, daytime accidents due to vision loss can still occur.
- Medication interaction – older people often take multiple medications for their health conditions. The side effects of the medication can be of great concern when coupled with driving.
What is the State of Florida Doing to Combat Older Driver Safety?
Florida has an older-age requirement for driver’s licenses, but is it enough? Some states have strict requirements, starting eye exams at age 40, where others don’t require renewals until the age of 85. Florida’s senior driver safety program requires those drivers 80-years-old and older to renew their license every six years with a passing eye exam. Neighboring states Alabama require renewals every four years and Georgia requires those 59 and older to renew their licenses every five years.
Because all states have different older-driving laws, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration proposed a new guideline this past summer. If passed, older-driving laws would become consistent nationwide – helping improve driver safety. According to AAA, in-person renewals are “the single most effective thing states can do to improve safety.”
Although vision testing and in-person renewals can help, there are nearly 34 million drivers age 65 and older on the nation’s roadways, according to federal estimates. And many believe that the baby boomers will hang onto their licenses longer than previous generations.
If you or your loved ones were injured by an older driver, don’t ignore it. You need to turn to a caring and experienced Sarasota auto accident attorneys to make sure that senior does not hurt anyone else, and that you get the compensation from his or her insurance company that you deserve. Call the Mallard Law Firm today at (941) 952-1682 and receive a free case consultation today.