Florida has a very high senior population, as Florida is one of the most common retirement destinations in the United States. Unfortunately, this means that Florida roads can be more dangerous because senior drivers face a substantial risk of causing a motor vehicle accident. In fact, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) studies indicate seniors are the second most high-risk demographic group on the road, coming in only after teen drivers in terms of crash rates.
One recent motor vehicle collision reported on by Palm Beach Post is just one of many examples of how senior drivers can end up losing their lives in motor vehicle accidents.
It is up to seniors and to the family members of elderly individuals to assess whether a senior should still be driving or when it is time for the older motorist to give up his or her license since it is no longer safe to operate a vehicle.
Seniors Can Be Involved in Deadly Car Accidents in Florida
The Palm Beach Post indicated an 89-year-old Florida man from Boca Raton was killed in a car accident outside of the Boca West Country Club. The man reportedly crashed his car into the back of a vehicle which was being driven by a valet. The incident occurred around 7:25 PM. The elderly driver also struck a support column after hitting the other car.
The passenger in the vehicle with the older driver sustained minor injuries and was taken to the hospital. She was the wife of the man who died in the crash. Alcohol was not suspected to have been involved in causing the accident. NHTSA reports senior drivers are actually the demographic group with the lowest rate of drunk driving accidents.
While seniors do not often cause drunk driving accidents, they can cause collisions because the effects of aging result in delayed reaction times, cognitive impairments, vision issues, and other age-related health problems which can affect the ability to drive a car.
Florida, with so many seniors, has taken some steps to try to stop people from driving when they are no longer able to be safe operating a vehicle. For example, drivers in Florida who are 80 or older have to renew their license every six years, compared with every eight years for younger motorists. Applicants aged 80 and older who apply for a new license have to pass a vision test either administered by a licensed doctor, an optometrist, or the DMV.
While this is helpful, Florida doesn't require seniors to pass a road test, as some other states do. Further, six years is a long time, and problems could develop before renewal. Seniors and their families should make informed choices about when it is no longer safe to drive.