It is a common belief that senior drivers are dangerous.
The stereotype is that older drivers have declining abilities and more likely to be involved in a crash. That’s the conclusion of a Georgia State University study that found that 60% of Americans believe that senior drivers are a danger on the roads.
The core belief is false. Senior citizens crash at a lower rate than young drivers.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) reports that approximately 225,000 senior citizens are injured in collisions every year. But elderly drivers are no more likely to be involved in a crash than other drivers. Quite the contrary, seniors get into nearly 50% fewer collisions than drivers under the age of 25.
Adults over the age of 65 make up approximately 14.5% of licensed drivers and are involved in 10.8% of crashes in which there are death.
The “go for the gusto” drivers age 15 to 24 comprise 13.2% of the population and true to their exuberance are involved in 24.2% of all fatal crashes.
While it is a myth that seniors get into more accidents, NHTSA reports that older adults make up approximately 10% of all car accident injuries, but 18% of car accident death. Public safety experts believe that the reason for the higher fatality rate is that seniors are more physically vulnerable and more likely to suffer catastrophic harm.
While older drivers as a population group are no more likely to be involved in collisions, as we age people have slower reaction times, impaired vision and hearing, and are challenged by headlights at night as a result of cataracts. That’s one reason why California the Department of Motor Vehicles, which offers driver license renewals online, requires that drivers over the age of 70 must apply in person at a DMV office to renew a driver’s license.
The greatest hazard for older drivers is freeway driving at a speed below that of prevailing traffic because they are challenged by others driving at a higher speed than they find comfortable. Slow cars interrupt the flow of traffic and force approaching vehicles to maneuver around them. These drivers need to stay to the right, avoid HOV lanes, and arrange their schedules so they drive during non-commute hours and in lighter traffic, avoiding poor weather conditions and nighttime operation.
The key point is that at some point everyone has to give up driving because of diminishing ability. Better that occurs voluntarily, before a tragedy results in serious personal injuries or a wrongful death.
Contact Our San Jose Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyers for Immediate Help
Alexander Law Group, LLP attorneys are available to answer questions and share our knowledge of the law and the results of our research and experience. Our goal as personal injury lawyers is to make a difference for our clients. Every day we deal with a range of health and safety issues that most people do not encounter until after an injury occurs. As safety lawyers we are committed to providing our clients and the public with information for safer and healthier living. Call 888-777-1776 or contact us online to schedule a consultation to see how we can help you.