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Elderly Driving and Car Accidents

By Edited Feb 10, 2014 1 3

When people reach a certain age, they may be required to stop driving because they no longer have the skills that are needed for it. Determining whether an elderly is still fit to drive can be a difficult process, considering that he has been allowed to operate a vehicle for many years. Being prohibited from driving is not easy, but overlooking the problem may cause the occurrence of car accidents.

A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic safety shows that drivers who are 65-years-old and above are more likely to involved in road accidents compared to younger ones. Meanwhile, drivers who are 85-years-old and above are almost four times more likely to be involved in a deadly crash compared to teen drivers.

On the brighter side, older drivers do not cause many motorist and pedestrian deaths because they are more likely to comply with traffic rules. In short, the problem does not lie on their behavior, but on the effects of aging when it comes to their driving skills.

Here are different effects of aging, which can make driving a dangerous activity for the elderly:

  • Slower reflexes - An elderly driver may need more time to react to unexpected dangers. This means he may not easily avoid reckless pedestrians or drivers who ignore traffic rules.
  • Poor vision - It impedes drivers from immediately seeing important traffic signs, other drivers, lane lines, and pedestrians. Examples of eye conditions that are often suffered by older people include muscular degeneration, glaucoma, and cataracts. Meanwhile, night vision can cause them to have problems when they see the glare of headlights.
  • Health conditions - Mental and health conditions that are common to seniors like Alzheimer's or Parkinson's disease can greatly affect their judgment and agility while they are behind the wheel. Meanwhile, seniors might suddenly lose control of the vehicle if they suffered from a heart attack, which is a common medical problem for them.
  • Effects of over-the-counter and prescribed medicines - People who are 65-years-old and above are required to take more medicines compared to others. These medicines can cause confusion or drowsiness and prevent drivers from focusing on the roads.

If an elderly driver causes an accident and you were injured due to it, you have the right to file a case against him with the assistance of a Los Angeles personal injury lawyer. This legal expert will gather evidence which shows that that the other driver chose to continue driving, though he is aware that his driving skills are already impaired by his condition.



Oct 12, 2010 7:50pm
I'd argue the prescription part to emphasize that they are dangerous for all ages. I recently had to break it to my grandma that she cannot drive anymore for her own safety. It's very sad and hard. Plus, having worked as a personal injury paralegal in the past, I know what can happen if an accident occurs, as you are implying in your article. I'd guess you've yet to take away someone's independence, necessary or not.

It's too bad that you're just outright advocating for suing the heck out of them for their life's earnings. There are many many seniors with no other choice but to drive. Those who do not have someone to help them or to help them realize maybe it's time to give up driving. I just think it's easy to tell people to sue, as it's your job, but part of seniors driving past due is a societal failure to properly care for them.
Oct 12, 2010 9:18pm
Yes I agree with you. I have similar views that, as much as possible, we should help or assist elderly drivers and drive for them, when necessary. However, in some cases where, as you said, the seniors had “no other choice but to drive”, our concern is not only in the potential risks of other motorists being involved in a crash but in the safety of the elderly driver as well.

Sad, maybe – but true. We do not advocate people to sue senior drivers “for their life's earnings” (your car insurance should cover for that), but in most accidents, regardless of whether the negligent driver is a teenager or a senior, a lawsuit may be the only option available to an injured victim of a car crash. In fact, it is the only legal option for anyone involved in a car accident, regardless of age.
Oct 12, 2010 11:16pm
It is one of those situations that have no good outcome. I feel for the elderly folks that may be involved in an accident, but they need to be held accountable for any damages that they may have caused.

When my grandparents had to quit driving they didn't *seem* to mind. We'd just call them before we went wherever and ask if they wanted to ride along. All family's aren't that close though.

On the bright side the old folks could be dead before the suit is ever settled. I witnessed an accident and it took SEVEN YEARS before it finally got settled. All those lawyers (no offense MLG) drove me nuts with their stupid questions.

They just need to institute a mental/vision/hearing/reflexes check on the old folks before they'll renew their license.
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