Why Florida Motorists Over 65 Should Discuss Their Driving Abilities
According to the American Automobile Association (AAA), around 83 percent of elderly drivers reportedly never discussed their ability to drive safely with family members or doctors.
Due to declining vision, judgment, and overall driving ability, elder drivers are not only likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries in a crash, but also to potentially harm other road users.
Senior citizens aged 65 and older often outlive their driving abilities by roughly seven to 10 years. According to AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research (LongROAD), only 17 percent of elderly drivers reportedly spoke to family or medical professionals. The most common reason was driving safety concerns (65%), such as falling asleep at the wheel or difficulty staying in a lane.
Having the discussion can save lives
Why is it important for older drivers to discuss their driving ability with family members or medical professionals? The percentage of elderly drivers is increasing on US roads. In 2009, there were roughly 33 million elderly drivers on the road. This marked a 20 percent increase from 1999. By the year 2030, it is estimated that the senior citizen population in the US will be around 70 million. Around 85 to 90 percent of them are expected to be licensed drivers.
AAA unveils shocking statistics regarding elderly drivers:
- About 80 percent of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis. The pain and inflammation to the joints can hinder a driver’s ability to operate a vehicle safely.
- Older drivers are often weaker and lack range of motion, which can make turning the steering wheel, braking, or accelerating difficult.
- More than 75 percent of elderly drivers are currently using at least one form of medication. Only one-third of them have acknowledged the risks associated with drugged driving.
- In 2009, over 58 percent of victims in fatal traffic accidents involving drivers over the age of 65 were the older drivers themselves. Additionally, other parties killed included passengers (12%), occupants of other vehicles, bicyclists, and pedestrians (28%).
Discussing elderly drivers’ ability to operate a vehicle may be difficult, but it’s absolutely crucial for their safety and the safety of others.
If you or a loved one was injured in a crash, you may be eligible for compensation for medical expenses, lost wages, and suffering. It’s important that you speak to an experienced West Palm Beach auto accident attorney as soon as possible.
Contact David J. Glatthorn, P.A. today to schedule a free case evaluation.