Safety of Older DriversJune 6, 2018
It is not always easy seeing our loved ones age, particularly when their physical and mental health begins to decline. When this happens, it often means having to make some difficult decisions. For example, if you have an aging parent whose eyesight is deteriorating, or who is beginning to show signs of an age-related illness like dementia, it may be time to discuss the possibility of ceasing to drive.
This can be a difficult conversation, since it is common for seniors to feel isolated or depressed when they are no longer able to drive. However, if health concerns make driving unsafe, either for your loved one, other passengers in the vehicle, or other motorists sharing the road, it is a decision that must be made.
Using data from an ongoing Adult Changes in Thought study, as well as the Washington State crash data base and Washington’s Department of Licensing, researchers published a study in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society, which investigated whether there was a link between cognitive function and the risk of car accidents in older drivers who were not suffering from dementia. They found that even older drivers without dementia were at greater risk of being involved in a car accident. Specifically, those drivers who had depression and other cognitive impairments were more likely to be in a motor vehicle accident.
Why Aging Drivers are a Concern
Not all seniors have to give up driving simply because they are getting older. In fact, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, approximately 17 percent of Americans over the age of 65 continue to drive. However, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the number of fatal crashes increases at age 70 and peaks at age 85.
Certain age-related illnesses can cause slower reaction times, such as impaired hearing and vision, or stiffness, which can affect a person’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. In addition, some medications can impair a person’s ability to drive.
When to Stop Driving
The following will help you or a loved one decide when it is time for an older driver to stop driving:
- Becoming confused or disoriented by traffic signals
- Stopping when there is no traffic light or stop sign, or stopping at a green light
- Not stopping at red lights or stop signs
- Frequently getting lost and needing to call a friend or family member for directions
- Friends and family members voicing their concern about a senior’s driving
- Getting into fender benders or side-swiping accidents when pulling into or out of a parking spot
According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, while today one in six drivers are 65 or older, it is estimated that this will amount to a total of more than 40 million drivers by 2020.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Protect the Rights of Car Accident Victims
If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident involving a senior driver, do not hesitate to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. We will thoroughly investigate the details of your accident and take the appropriate steps to ensure that you receive the maximum financial compensation you deserve. Our experienced and compassionate team will protect your rights every step of the way. To schedule a free consultation, call us today at 800-547-4LAW (4529) or contact us online.
Our offices are located in Baltimore, Columbia, Glen Burnie, and Towson, allowing us to represent injured victims in Maryland, including those in Anne Arundel County, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Harford County, Howard County, Montgomery County, Maryland’s Western Counties, Prince George’s County, Queen Anne’s County, Southern Maryland, and the Eastern Shore, as well as the communities of Catonsville, Essex, Halethorpe, Middle River, Rosedale, Gwynn Oak, Brooklandville, Dundalk, Pikesville, Nottingham, Windsor Mill, Lutherville, Timonium, Sparrows Point, Ridgewood, and Elkridge.