The United States has an aging population, so it’s not generally surprise that many accidents involving drivers 65 years of age and older occur with regularity – but the statistics indicate that there’s something more going on.
While the population of older adults has jumped 29%, the number of fatal motor vehicle accidents involving adults in that age bracket has risen by 34%. That indicates that the odds of a serious car accident tend to increase with age somewhat disproportionately.
There are a lot of reasons for that trend
Senior drivers face a lot of challenges with driving due to a combo of age-related changes in their physical and cognitive abilities, such as:
- Decreased vision: Conditions like cataracts, glaucoma and macular degeneration can affect seniors’ ability to see clearly, especially in low-light conditions or at night. Seniors may also become more sensitive to glare from headlights or reflective surfaces due to various age-related vision changes.
- Slower reaction times: Aging can lead to a natural decline in reaction times, which may affect a senior’s ability to make quick decisions when merging onto highways or reacting to sudden changes in traffic patterns.
- Impaired cognitive functions: Memory, attention and problem-solving skills can all decline with age. This may impact a senior’s ability to process information quickly and follow complex directions while driving.
- Medical conditions and medications: Chronic illnesses, such as arthritis or diabetes, may affect mobility and concentration. Medications prescribed to manage numerous health conditions, all of which tend to increase with age, can also have side effects like drowsiness or dizziness – which can also affect driving ability.
Unfortunately, not every senior realizes that it is time to hang up their keys – or they’re simply unwilling to give up their independence. If you end up in a wreck with a senior driver through no fault of your own (or only partial fault on your part), it may be time to seek more information about your legal options for recovery.