Do Older Drivers Contribute to Car Accident Risks in Southeast Missouri?

April 4, 2012

file0001892987565.jpgAs baby boomers mature, the population of older drivers increases. It may not be just teen drivers that pose the highest dangers to other motorists anymore.

Our Southeast Missouri car accident lawyers understand that the effects of growing old can be alarming. It's important for families keep an eye on their loved ones, especially on their parents and grandparents, to make sure that they're still able to safely operate a motor vehicle. If you think they might be at risk because of an age-related condition, you are urged to speak up. It's certainly a difficult conversation to have, but remind yourself that you're bringing up the topic in the interest of your loved one's safety and well-being.

It's a fact of life: there are several unfortunate (and often unavoidable) symptoms that accompany old age. Drivers 65 and older made up nearly 20% of all licensed drivers in 2008, and those drivers over age 75 have proven to be high-risk on the road. Old age can often cause a loss of coordination, cognitive function, or eyesight, along with a decline in other skills, according to US News. When motorists start to experiencing these symptoms, it may be time for them to stop driving - for their safety, and for the safety of others.

A recent editorial in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) recommends imposing restrictions on seniors' licenses. Using recent research, the writers argue for "a graduated license program akin to the one for teenagers, which has prohibitions against driving at night, on freeways, or with any blood alcohol level - even one below the legal limit," according to International Business News. Presently, in Canada, seniors' licenses are only restricted after they accumulate multiple traffic violations. Researchers Donald Redelmeier (Professor of Medicine, University of Toronto) and Matthew Stanbrook (CMAJ deputy editor) write that "this approach is often too late to prevent injuries."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) asks you to consider these questions to help evaluate if you or a loved one should retire your driving career:

• Are you getting lost when taking a familiar route?

• Are you finding new scratches or dents on your vehicle?

• Are you getting ticketed for a number of driving violations?

• Are you finding road signs or road markings to be suddenly overwhelming?

• Do you find yourself driving too fast or too slow for no apparent reason?

• Are you getting into car accidents or often near-misses?

• Are you currently taking medications that suggest that you refrain from operating a motor vehicle?

• Have you received recommendation from your doctor to stop or reduce driving?

• Do you have health problems that could affect your driving ability?

NHTSA reports that nearly 5,500 people 65 and older were killed in motor-vehicle accidents in the United States in 2009. Another 187,000 of these individuals sustained injuries from these incidents. These accidents accounted for nearly 20% of all traffic fatalities and almost 10% of injuries for the year.

In 2009, Missouri had nearly 200 traffic fatalities from motor-vehicle accidents that involved a driver that was 65 or older.

If you've been involved car accident in New Madrid, Perryville, Sikeston, Jackson or any of the surrounding areas, call Aaron Sachs and Associates at 1-888-777-AUTO to schedule a confidential consultation to discuss your rights.

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