Recent census data shows that America’s population is steadily getting older and the median age of the country is now at a record high. Over the next couple of decades, we can expect a significant increase in the number of senior drivers on our streets, demanding a closer look at the safety implications involved, including the increase risk of personal injuries from car accidents.
The US Census Bureau recently released estimates of the country’s population and these showed that the nation’s median age increased to 38.9 years between 2021 and 2022. That is a record high and is due to a steady decline in birth rates in the United States. The data shows that no state recorded a drop in median age during this time.
For anyone concerned about roadway safety in the country, these numbers merit interest. The data clearly indicates that there will be a significant increase in the population of senior drivers on our roads in the near future. There is no data to show that senior drivers are automatically more dangerous drivers than others. In fact, they have lower auto accident rates than many groups of drivers, including teenage drivers.
However, the fact is that aging can compromise the ability to drive safely. It can impact the ability to physically maneuver the vehicle, respond quickly in emergency situations and take the kind of on -the -spot decisions that can be essential to prevent an auto accident. All of these factors combined with failing hearing and vision can impact a senior motorist’s ability to drive.
Several states, including Georgia, have restrictions on seniors and renewal of licenses. In Georgia, for instance, drivers above the age of 64 have to get a vision screening done before they can get their license renewed. Failing vision is just one of the factors that can impact a person’s ability to drive safely.
Other countries have experimented with novel ways to screen drivers for their ability to drive safely. In Japan, for instance, in 2017, a government policy required drivers above the age of 75 to submit to a cognitive assessment test. In the six months after the policy was enacted, Japanese authorities found that close to 30,000 drivers were diagnosed with dementia after submitting to the test, and close to 700 failed to get their licenses renewed as a result.
If your loved one is getting older and insists on driving, ensure that he gets regular health checkups including vision screenings. A general rule of thumb is that if your loved one is unable to manage his own finances or his own medications, he should no longer be driving. However, make sure that you make other arrangements for the person to be independent and remain mobile even without driving to prevent any negative impact on the senior’s mental health.
The Atlanta car crash attorneys at Katz Personal Injury Lawyers are dedicated to the representation of persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in a car accident, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine if you have legal options to a claim for damages. You may be eligible for compensation that includes medical expenses, lost income and other types of damages. Talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your case.