Elderly Driver Car Accidents

According to AAA, “research on age-related driving concerns has shown that at around the age of 65 drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a vehicle crash.” And, the risk of driver fatality increases dramatically after the age of 75. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), by 2020 there will be more than 40 million drivers age 65 and older on the road. This is a 10% increase and unfortunately our aging population may lead to an increase in elderly-related car accidents.

The three top reasons that older drivers have more accidents include: poor judgement when turning left into traffic, drifting within the traffic lane, and decreased reaction time to a change in driving situation. Other than young drivers, older drivers have the highest rate of fatal crashes. Drivers 65 and older make up approximately 17 percent of all fatal car accidents.

Another common cause of accidents involving elderly drivers is pedal misapplication (stepping on the accelerator instead of the brake). It can happen to anyone but seems to more commonly involve older motorists. Pedal misapplication is caused by loss of mental and physical agility, either because of disease, medications or physical deterioration due to old age.

Eyesight typically decreases as we age and this can result in difficulty focusing quickly, peripheral vision declines as well, and it can be more difficult for the elderly to see at night. Another issue that can affect the accident rate of older drivers is the type of medications they take as many drugs can cause drowsiness.

Unfortunately, “the decline of skills necessary for safe driving sometimes occurs suddenly or subtly. Signs may include a pattern of close calls, violations or collisions, increasing difficulty in noticing pedestrians, signs, objects, or other vehicles; an observable decline in physical abilities; or a rapid onset of fatigue from driving.” (AgeQuest)

California has taken action to combat this issue by requiring drivers 70 or older to retest before they can renew their license. Some automobile insurance companies are now offering computer-based training programs to their older drivers which are designed to help improve their field of vision. And, on a positive note, with all the increased safety features on new automobiles and with better senior health, the crash, injury and fatality rate for older drivers is declining.

If you or a loved one has been in an accident with an elderly driver, Walton Law Firm can help. Our lawyers can assist you in reaching a settlement with the other party’s insurance company to settle your claim or if required, we can represent you in a lawsuit. You are entitled to financial compensation for your medical expenses, car damage, lost wages, pain, suffering, emotional distress, inconvenience, and other impacts the accident may have had on your life.

For 20 years, Walton Law Firm has successfully represented numerous individuals and families in and around North County who have been victims of all types of car accidents. Our firm would be happy to provide a free consultation with a lawyer to discuss your accident. We will provide an honest appraisal of your case, and let you know if you even need a lawyer. Or, if you prefer, you can submit a confidential question online. You can reach us at (866) 607-1325 or locally in North San Diego County at (760) 571-5500.