Americans of all ages are dependent on automobiles to get from point a to b, but elderly drivers may have to weigh the risks because there is an increase in driving errors with age reminiscent of mistakes made when first learning to drive. In fact, drivers over the age of 75 are considered almost as dangerous as teenagers, especially when factoring in age-related vision problems and dementia.
According to the NHTSA, there are roughly 35 million drivers over the age of 65 in the U.S., a 20 percent increase over a decade ago. As that elderly population grows, many more face the prospect of lost independence, isolation and even depression that losing their wheels might trigger. However, there is a new push to empower older drivers to extend driving as long as possible through a combination of technology and adopting changes to driving behaviors.
With increasing car technologies, this might include selecting vehicles that can accommodate an elderly person’s physical disabilities and certain sensory or cognitive losses. It might also mean that driving behaviors may need to be modified to avoid driving at night, in heavy traffic, or in bad weather, as examples, to avoid the higher risks all drivers face in theses situations. Periodic checkups of driving abilities is also an option, where an elderly driver can consult a driving rehab specialist to observe reflexes, range of motion and foot work required to operate safely.
Not all aging drivers have the same challenges. In fact, drivers from 65 to 70 are typically safer drivers because they are less likely to speed, drive impaired or text while driving – the three top causes of Iowa car accidents. To extend the likelihood of operating safely through the mid-seventies and beyond boils down to ability, not age, so thinking about how to cut out more of the hazardous variables when driving and taking advantage of new technologies holds out hope to many Americans who enjoy the ride.
McDonald, Woodward & Carlson has over 70 years in personal injury practice and we have successfully handled thousands of injury cases. If you have been injured in an Iowa car accident, contact the Davenport car accident lawyers of McDonald, Woodward & Carlson for immediate assistance at 563-355-6478.