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Older Drivers and Car Accident Risks: Myths and Facts

In some states, the population of older drivers is projected to reach as much as 20% over the next decade. But does a population comprised significantly of drivers automatically mean higher accident numbers?

There are many myths and misconceptions about senior drivers.  Here we debunk just a few of them.

Seniors must give up driving privileges in order to remain safe

In most cases, seniors, who have undergone a complete physical assessment and screening of their driving abilities, are found to be safe drivers. With so many seniors leading mobile and independent lives, it is inevitable that we will have large numbers of seniors who continue to drive. Driving is key to maintaining independence, and seniors may need to drive in order to perform chores and other daily routine activities. Cessation of driving privileges has actually been found linked to depression and other symptoms of deterioration of mental health in seniors.

Seniors are incapable of assessing their own driving

According to the American Medical Association, most seniors tend to self-regulate their own driving, and cut down on their driving when they begin to find limitations in their abilities. For instance, they are very likely to make changes to their own driving routines when they find that their medications are making them drowsy, or their slower reaction times are making it difficult for them to drive safely.  Seniors may also decide not to drive at busy times of the day, or avoid driving at night which tends to be more dangerous. They may cut down on the amount of driving they do.

Medical screenings are unnecessary for seniors who regulate their own driving

While many seniors do assess their own abilities and are able to reduce the risks of being involved in an accident by regulating their driving, it is still important for family members to ensure that the senior driver undergoes regular monitoring and screening of their overall health in order to continue with driving privileges. The American Medical Association provides tools that help physicians to screen older drivers for possible risks, that make it difficult for them to drive safely. A complete screening will take into account the senior’s vision, hearing, and the existence of medical conditions that might make it difficult for the person to drive safely.  The medical screening should also include the effect of any medications a senior is taking and if they are having any impact on the senior’s driving skills.

If your loved one is getting older and you have concerns about his or her ability to drive safely, talk to your doctor and get a complete driving risk assessment and screening done in order to ensure that your loved one is safe while driving.

The Atlanta car accident lawyers at the Katz Personal Injury Lawyers represent persons who have suffered injuries in  car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have suffered injuries in an accident due to another’s negligence, talk to a lawyer at our firm and determine whether you have legal options to a claim for damages.



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