Articles Tagged with senior drivers

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New  research recently attempted to identify the various types of medications that could exacerbate a senior’s risk of being involved in car accidents, and found that painkillers and antidepressants topped the list.

A senior person may be at a much higher risk of being involved in a car accident due to a number of factors.  These  factors include lower vision,  lower hearing abilities,  delayed reaction times,  impaired   judgement abilities,  and one of the most important of all,  the side effects of medications.   A  senior is more likely to suffer from a number of health conditions, including cardiovascular disease,  heart disease, high blood pressure and diabetes, and  may be on medications for several of these conditions.  Many  of these medications do come with side effects that include  drowsiness,  fatigue,  confusion,  disorientation,  lack of concentration  and other symptoms.

A recent study attempted to identify the specific classifications of drugs that are most dangerous for a senior driver. The researchers followed a group of  senior adults over 10 years of their lives, and focused on their performances on  annual road tests.  The researchers found that seniors who were on certain types of drugs were much more likely to fail their annual tests or score very low on the tests. The biggest culprits  were anti – depressants  and sedatives or sleeping aids which were found to have the most serious impact on senior driving skills. Seniors who used non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or over-the-counter painkillers were also much more likely to do poorly on their driving skills tests. The researchers found that when the seniors were on these three different types of drugs, they were more likely to get marginal or failing scores on the driving tests.

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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.

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An increasing population of senior motorists on Georgia roads translates into a large number of drivers with possibly impaired driving abilities, and an increased risk of auto accidents.

It is important to note that not every person above the age of 65  is a dangerous driver.  In fact, a fit and healthy senior can expect to be driving for many more years, provided he or she is in excellent physical health.  However, in some cases, a senior motorist may exhibit signs of impairment that can impact his ability to drive safely. Because a senior’s impaired driving abilities can significantly affect not just his or her own safety, but also the safety of other motorists on the road, it is up to the family to look out for warning signs of declining driving abilities and heightened car accident risks in the senior.

Here are some warning signs that should alert you to the possibility that your loved one is incapable of driving safely.

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