Aging causes a number of physical changes that may affect driving, including declines in vision and cognitive functioning, and four of out five senior citizens take one or more medications on a daily basis. Since one in six drivers on U.S. roads is 65 years or older, it is important to take a closer look at how many accidents are taking place among senior citizens and how they can be prevented.
How Many Accidents and Who Is Most at Risk?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) released the following statistics on older adult drivers:
- In 2015, there were more than 40 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the U.S., a 50 percent increase from 1999.
- In 2015, more than 6,800 older adults were killed and 260,000 injured in vehicle crashes. Meaning, every day 19 older adults are killed and 712 are injured in vehicle crashes.
Fatal crash rates begin increasing around ages 70–74 and are the highest among drivers 85 years and older. The increase is due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications and not an increased tendency to get into accidents. Males have higher death rates than females.
Driving Safety Tips
If you are an older adult or are caring for an older adult, here are some of the CDC’s tips to help older adults stay safe on the road:
- Talk to your doctor about any medical issues to assess whether any conditions may affect your ability to drive.
- Have a doctor or pharmacist review your prescription and over-the-counter medications for potential side effects or interactions.
- Complete an annual eye exam and make sure that if you need glasses or contacts for driving, you wear them as required.
- Plan your driving route ahead of time. The safest routes have well-lit streets, intersections with left turn arrows and easy parking.
- When possible, drive during daylight and in good weather.
- Explore alternates to driving such as public transportation, car ride services, or riding with a friend or family member.
If you have been injured in a car accident, trust the caring and experienced staff at the Kelly Law Team to analyze your case, explain your options and maximize your recovery. Contact us at 602-283-4122 for a free consultation.