When Is It No Longer Safe for a Senior Driver to Be Behind the Wheel?May 10, 2019
Watching our parents age can be difficult, particularly when their health begins to decline. Even seniors who are in excellent health start to experience some of the typical signs of aging, including hearing loss, impaired vision, and slower reaction times. Unfortunately, when this happens, it can have a significant impact on a senior driver’s ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. Currently, certain states have started to require older drivers to renew their driver’s license in person, or retake their driving test, so that motor vehicle personnel can identify individuals who should not be driving.
Telling your senior parent that it is no longer safe for them to drive can be very difficult. However, restricting a senior driver’s privileges could save their life and the lives of other motorists sharing the road, if they are physically or mentally unable to safely drive a car. According to statistics, drivers who are aged 70 and older have the highest crash rates per mile traveled. In 2016, close to 5,000 senior drivers over the age of 70 died in car accidents. Despite the fact that losing a driver’s license means a loss of independence, it could prevent a serious or fatal accident if the senior driver should no longer be behind the wheel.
Statistics to Consider
When establishing an age-related driving test, there are several questions that should be considered. For example, should someone who has been driving for 50 years be required to take a parallel parking test? If a senior driver received a poor score on a written test, but did very well on the driving test, should their license be revoked or suspended? These are issues that need to be sorted out. In addition, the following statistics from AAA should be considered:
- Approximately half of all middle-aged drivers, and 80 percent of people over the age of 70, suffer from arthritis, which can make turning and twisting movements painful.
- Seniors tend to have weaker muscles, reduced flexibility, and limited range of motion, which impacts their ability to grip the steering wheel, press the gas or brake pedal, or open car doors and windows.
- While more than 75 percent of drivers who are 65 or older report that they take at least one type of medication, less than one-third are aware that their medication can impact their driving.
- Fatal crash rates increase starting at the age of 75, and go up significantly after the age of 80, due to risk of injury and medical complications.
- Fatality rates in older drivers are 17 times higher compared to drivers who are between the ages of 25 and 64.
Baltimore Car Accident Lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton Represent Victims Injured in Car Accidents by Senior Drivers
If you have been in a car accident involving a senior driver, contact the Baltimore car accident lawyers at LeViness, Tolzman & Hamilton as soon as possible. We will determine whether the driver who hit you should not have been behind the wheel due to signs of aging. Our dedicated and compassionate team will secure the maximum financial compensation you deserve for your injuries. 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 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.