As the number of older American increases, so does the number of elderly drivers out on the roadways. Older drivers above the age of 70 are much safer now on the roads that they used to be. However, several factors, including a slowness to adopt newer auto technologies, could be working against them, and could expose them to the risk of accidents.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety recently published the results of a study that focused on how accident rates for seniors have actually dropped over the past few years. The study focused on the period between 2009 and 2017, and found that during the first half of the study, the rates of car accidents involving seniors actually dropped.
That may not be all good news, however. The first half of the study period coincided with the Great Recession, and that was the time when there was a drop in the rates of all types of auto accidents. During the latter half of the study, accident rates involving seniors stayed consistent, while accident rates involving middle-aged drivers started increasing again.
History shows that accident rates typically increase during a financial upturn, when more people are likely to drive and also more likely to engage in risky driving behaviors like drunk driving, that can result in accidents. Older drivers, however, are much less likely to indulge in these kinds of risky behaviors, which means that they may be able to avoid the spike in accidents that typically follows a recession.
Older drivers are also much more likely to drive outdated vehicles that lack many of the auto safety features that are responsible for reducing accident rates. This might continue to place them at a higher risk of accidents. The researchers believe that when more senior drivers begin to adopt the latest auto safety technologies, the overall accident rates involving drivers above the age of 70 might actually reduce further.
Advanced auto technologies such as lane departure warning systems and forward collision warning systems, for instance, could actually help with many of the driving challenges that older drivers face. Lane departure warning systems, for instance, can help prevent accidents caused by drowsy or fatigued driving, while forward collision warning systems can actually help minimize the types of accidents caused by a senior driver’s inability to react in time to avoid an accident.
The benefits of auto safety technologies can definitely go a long way in keeping senior drivers safer. If you are a senior above the age of 70, make sure that you get your eyesight checked at least twice in a year. Maintain optimum physical health, and avoid driving during certain times, including at night, when the lighting conditions may make it riskier for you to be out on the roads.
The Atlanta car accident attorneys at the Katz Law Firm represent persons injured in car accidents in the metro Atlanta region and across Georgia. If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident caused due to another motorist’s negligence, talk to an attorney at our firm and discuss your legal options for a claim. You could be eligible for compensation that includes medical costs, lost income and other types of damages.