Startling Increase in Fatalities Among Senior DriversSeptember 12, 2018
When the time comes to talk to an older family member about the possibility that they should no longer be driving, it can be a very difficult conversation to have. Losing one’s driving privileges means a loss of independence and the ability to be self-sufficient. Unfortunately, as seniors age, they are at a greater risk of serious, even fatal injuries if they are involved in a car accident. According to the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration’s Highway Safety Office, from 2013 to 2017, there was a 69 percent increase in the number of senior drivers fatally injured in Maryland. It is important to have open, honest conversations with senior drivers before they develop health issues that make driving even more dangerous.
While seniors are living longer, it does not necessarily mean that they should be driving well into their 70s, 80s, and 90s. In fact, AAA recommends that seniors should stop driving around the same time they retire from work. According to the executive director of the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety, this does not apply to every senior, but it is a good time to consider the person’s overall health, vision, hearing, and other factors that could impact driving ability. Research indicates that seniors tend to avoid talking about their own driving capabilities, so it is up to the families to discuss it in a way that is respectful and compassionate.
There are several reasons why seniors are hesitant to talk about driving safety, including the following:
- Safety concerns, including falling asleep at the wheel
- Declining health
- Traffic incident or crash
- Planning for the future
Talking to a Loved One About No Longer Driving
AAA Mid-Atlantic offers tips on how and when to start the conversation with older loved ones about driving safety. Avoid waiting until an accident has already happened, or the family member’s health has started to decline. The following tips will help open the conversation:
- Do not wait to have the conversation until something bad has happened. Start early, and be positive, supportive, and respectful of your loved one’s feelings. Discuss safe driving tips and suggest other forms of transportation.
- Avoid making assumptions about a person’s driving based on age-related stereotypes.
- Keep the conversation between you and the older driver. Avoid intervention-like scenarios where the older driver may feel angry, resentful, and alienated.
- Only discuss information like whether an illness or medication is affecting the driver’s ability to remain safe behind the wheel.
- Encourage the older driver to play an active role in coming up with a driving plan that they feel good about and keeps them safe.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent All Types of Car Accident Victims
If you have been injured in a car accident involving a senior driver, you are urged to contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton. Our experienced and compassionate team will determine the cause of the accident and seek the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. To schedule a free, confidential 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 car accident 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.