Medical Factors That Affect Senior Drivers Accident Risk
Most of us are aware that as we age, safe driving can become more difficult. Adult children often get to a point with their elderly parents where they worry about their ability to drive safely. And there is reason to be concerned. According to cdc.gov, in 2018, almost 7,700 senior adults, ages 65 plus, were killed in traffic crashes. An additional 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for crash injuries. Older drivers, especially those 75 and up, are more vulnerable to injury in a crash than middle-aged drivers (aged 35-54); contributing to a higher crash death rate among this age group.
With an aging population, we will have an increasing number of senior drivers licensed to drive between now and 2030. Data from the Federal Highway Administration, points to a 60 percent increase in licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States between 2000 and 2018. What does this mean for safety on our roads? The good news is that older drivers tend to be more responsible than other age groups; they are less likely to drink and drive and more likely to wear their seatbelt.
Local Bellingham man dies in car accident
There are local examples of senior drivers causing accidents; including a recent tragic collision that killed a Bellingham man and injured two others.
As reported by kgmi.com, an elderly Bellingham man was killed in a Skagit County crash on Saturday, September 4, 2021. The 92-year-old driver, Walter Bruce Riddle, was driving on Josh Wilson Road northwest of the Skagit County Airport when he ran a stop sign at Farm to Market Road. His vehicle was then hit by an SUV that was driving southbound and then again by another vehicle that was driving north. The elderly passengers in the southbound vehicle were injured and taken to Skagit Valley Hospital; the driver of the northbound vehicle was not injured.
Medical factors that Affect Senior Drivers Accident Risk
According to agingcare.com, there are several medical factors that affect senior drivers; particularly those over the age of 75:
- As we age our muscles grow weaker and less flexible, which can limit our range of motion to press the brake or gas pedal effectively or to grip and turn the steering wheel.
- 80 percent of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis which can make necessary driving motions such as turning, flexing, and twisting painful.
- Prescription medications can affect driving. More than 75 percent of people over the age of 65 are taking one or more medications yet less than one-third know that medications could affect their ability to drive safely.
- Common senior eye conditions such as cataracts, macular degeneration, glaucoma, and diabetic retinopathy can affect vision and reduce the ability to drive safely.
- We lose some hearing as we age; some more than others. Seniors with hearing loss may not be able to hear horns, sirens, and noises from their own vehicles that they need to hear to react appropriately while driving.
- Medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, other forms of dementia, and Parkinson’s disease, that are most common among the senior population, can make it unsafe for an elderly person to drive.
Seek the help of a car accident attorney
If you or a loved one was injured because of the negligence of another, contact a personal injury lawyer to discuss your legal rights. Let an experienced car accident attorney fight for the full compensation that you deserve. It is not uncommon to receive a settlement from the insurance company that is five to ten times larger with the help of a lawyer. Call the personal injury lawyers at Tario & Associates, P.S. in Bellingham, WA today for a FREE consultation! We have been representing residents of Whatcom County, Skagit County, Island County and Snohomish County since 1979. You will pay nothing up front and no attorney fees at all unless we recover damages for you!