As advocates for the elderly members of our community, our attorneys are always pleased to report good news for older people. It is always unfortunate and too frequent that we hear of negligence related deaths of elderly individuals, whether it be from motor vehicle accidents, medical malpractice, or nursing home neglect. Our attorneys care about these members of our community, and want to do all that we can to ensure their safety, and are happy to relay to our readers when these people are being kept safe.
According to reports from the Indiana Gazette, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety released a studying saying that drivers who are 70 years of age and older are less likely to be involved in motor vehicle accidents than previous generations. They are also less likely to be seriously injured in a collision. This is because both our seniors are generally healthier, and vehicles are safer than before.
Therefore, our roads are now less deadly for older adults and senior citizens. According to the same study, from 1992 to 2012, fatal crash rates for older drivers fell 42% per licensed driver and 39% per vehicle miles traveled. Simultaneously to this decline in fatalities, older drivers are now driving more frequently than they used to as well. Drivers 75 years of age and older have increased annual mileage by over 50% from 1995 to 2008. With an increase in driving and a decrease in driving, this study indicates that elderly drivers are now safer and healthier than they ever have been.
Despite these positive findings, at some point most adult children or grandchildren of elderly drivers will need to have a serious talk with their older loved ones concerning a need to drive less or even stop driving all together. This can be a very sensitive topic for elderly loved ones because driving is a source of independence to many people, and no one likes the feeling of not being able to take care of themselves. It is important to reassure your loved ones that they are still intelligent and competent people, and that this could happen to someone at any age.
There are several warning signs that you should look for in elderly drivers that can indicate to you when it may be time to have this conversation. According to HelpGuide.org, there are signs to watch for that may indicate a problem with safe driving abilities. For instance, decreased vision, reduced strength and flexibility, impaired hearing, and slower reflexes could pose a problem for a senior to drive safely or affect their ability to drive a car. Consider how neck pains can make it more difficult to turn your head, and that this is very important to look at the other lanes of traffic, to make turns, or to change lanes. Leg pain may make it harder to use the gas and brake pedals. Medical professionals can also spot warning signs with annual (if not more frequent) check-ups. An eye doctor may be able to say if glasses are not enough for an individual to have vision adequate enough for driving, just as an ear doctor may note if one’s hearing is not as strong as it should be to drive.
It is important for seniors who have recently stopped driving to try to remain active and independent in other ways. Carpooling is a great option that allows for an active social life and productivity. If your loved ones live in an urban area, public transportation can bring them to grocers, retailers, parks, and other local areas. If you have come to the decision together that they should just cut back on their driving they may just avoid driving in certain areas, or in bad weather, at rush hour, or at night, just as many drivers of any age should. In that way, they could get their chores done outside the home at specific times of the day, and be home at other times.
Keeping our elderly safe is the job of everyone. When we practice safe driving and avoid reckless behaviors such as speeding, texting or talking on your cell phone, or driving while intoxicated, we can help save the lives of senior citizens in our community. Our attorneys care about the wellbeing of the elderly, and stand by those who have been injured in motor vehicle accident due to another’s negligence. If you or an elderly member of your family has been injured in a car crash, you may be able to hold that wrongdoer accountable through a lawsuit. Call us today for a free consultation, and we may be able to help you with your claim.