Spring Hill, FL – A new study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society claims that elderly drivers are no more likely to die in a car accident than drivers in their twenties.
According to researchers at the University of Plymouth in the United Kingdom, the risks of being involved in a fatal car accident are similar for seniors and younger drivers.
The study concluded that for drivers under the age of 29, 13 in 100 million driving trips ended in a fatality. For drivers over the age of 70, 14 in 100 million trips resulted in death. It was found that both drivers and passengers in these age brackets were at the highest risk for fatalities.
In addition to driving fatalities, researchers explored the risk of being killed as a pedestrian. The results show that seniors are five times more likely to be struck and killed while walking than younger adults. For older adults, 23 trips in every 100 million were fatal, which accounted for 37 percent of all pedestrian deaths in 2009.
The study’s lead researcher said that people often assume that older adults are more dangerous behind the wheel of a car than younger motorists because of reduced eyesight and cognitive abilities. However, this study indicates that elderly drivers should not necessarily turn in their driver’s licenses just yet. Rather, the focus should be on keeping older adults safe as passengers and pedestrians because statistics show that these individuals are not necessarily any safer walking down the street.
While most young drivers tend to view older drivers as road hazards, the above study shows that this is simply not the case. In fact, according to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, drivers 80 years of age or older experienced a crash rate of 90 accidents per 10,000 licensed drivers in 2010. The crash rate for motorists between the ages of 15 to 24 for that same year was recorded at 347 crashes per 10,000 drivers, more than three times the number of accidents involving older drivers.
In general, older drivers do experience changes with their eyesight and reflexes as they age, but statistics prove they are overall safe drivers. Why is this? Experts believe that it could be due to several factors, including driving at slower speeds, not driving in poor weather conditions and abstaining from drinking and driving.
Nearly 20 percent of Florida’s population is comprised of older adults 65 years and older. The Florida Highway Patrol estimates that around two million of Florida’s licensed drivers are over the age of 71 and that more than 450 of these licensed motorists are 100 years or older. While the state does not revoke a person’s driver’s license once they reach a certain age, it does require that all motorists who are 79 or older take a vision test. Additionally, the state has implemented a reporting system that allows physicians or concerned members of the public to report drivers that they feel may be a threat to public safety.
If you or someone you care for has been injured or killed in an auto wreck caused by a driver of any age, you may be able to pursue compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering and other damages through a personal injury or wrongful death lawsuit. A Hernando County Auto Accident Attorney at Whittel & Melton can investigate the circumstances leading up to your injuries and determine if another driver’s negligence behind the wheel caused the accident.
For a free legal assessment of your case, contact a Spring Hill Injury Lawyer at Whittel & Melton online or call 352-666-2121.