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Why are senior drivers prone to accidents?

On Behalf of | Oct 31, 2023 | Motor Vehicle Accidents

As people age, their lives and abilities change, especially when it comes to driving. Individuals who are 65 years old and above typically react slower than younger individuals due to factors such as prescription side effects, health issues or simply aging. Unfortunately, slower reaction times while driving can endanger both the elderly driver as well as other drivers on the road.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), 7,500 individuals aged 65 or older lost their lives in car accidents in 2020, making it a serious issue. Additionally, nearly 200,000 individuals had to seek emergency medical treatment for injuries sustained in such crashes. These figures mean that almost 20 elderly people die and around 540 are injured in car accidents every day. 

Accidents caused by elderly drivers

Research conducted in 2021 by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) shows that fatal collision rates increase significantly after age 70, peaking among drivers 85 and older. Some of the causes of these accidents include:

  • Driving in the wrong direction against traffic
  • Colliding with structures such as buildings or mailboxes
  • Crashing into pedestrians in a crosswalk
  • Using incorrect signals, such as turning left after indicating a right turn.
  • Making sudden lane changes that cut off other drivers.
  • Missing stop signs and traffic signals

If the elderly driver in your life has had several close calls or accidents while behind the wheel, it may be necessary to have a conversation with them about giving up driving. Taking away their keys may feel like you’re taking away their independence, but doing so may prevent serious injuries.

What if you were injured by an elderly driver?

You may be eligible for reimbursement of losses and medical expenses if an elderly driver’s mistakes cause you harm. Learning more about your legal options is wise.