As our population continues to age, elderly drivers are becoming an ever increasing hazard to users of the roadways in Kansas and nationwide. Studies show that after the age of 65, the fatality rates for drivers begin to climb. From ages 75 to 84, the fatality rate among senior citizen drivers is actually the equivalent of that of teen drivers, a notoriously dangerous driving group. When drivers reach the age of 85 and older, the fatality rate shoots up to four times that among teen drivers.
These statistics highlight an alarming problem that is only expected to get worse. The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be 9.6 million people over the age of 85 by 2030. Road safety experts project that by that year, elderly drivers will be responsible for 25% of all fatal crashes. This is a considerable increase from the current statistics that estimate seniors cause just 11% of all fatal crashes.
States across the country have taken note of the problem and are struggling to address it before the true boom of elderly drivers occurs. Several states have passed measures that require older citizens take more frequent vision and behind the wheel tests. Kansas does not currently have any restrictions on the elderly. However, family members, law enforcement officers, and doctors can request that elders be re-tested if they pose a hazard to themselves or other drivers.
Thus far, research has demonstrated that the rate of senior crashes does diminish when seniors are forced to appear in person to renew their license and complete a road test. Only two states, however, currently impose these restrictions.
Safety researchers are especially concerned with drivers over the age of 85, who are currently involved in three fatal crashes a day. Over the years, much focus has been cast on teen drivers and ways to increase their safety. This elderly population is actually far more dangerous than teens, yet little is being done to address the problem.
Normal aging is thought to contribute to the inability of some older Americans to drive safely. Reflexes, memory, visual acuity, flexibility, and the ability to focus all decline with old age. Further, many of the medications prescribed to seniors to treat a variety of ailments can make it more difficult to focus.
Studies show that elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents involving alcohol or high speeds than other drivers. They are more likely, however, to be involved in accidents at intersections, often when they miss a stop sign or turn left into oncoming traffic. Side impact crashes have thus become known as old person’s crashes, in the same manner that rollover accidents are generally thought of as young person’s crashes.
Contact Kansas City Automobile Accident Attorney Michael R. Lawless Today for a Free Consultation
The Lenexa, Kansas Automobile Accident Attorney at the law firm of Michael R. Lawless, P.A. are concerned by recent statistics showing the dangers of senior citizen drivers on the road who do not have the eye sight, perception, or reflexes required to safely operate an automobile. We support measures that would increase the safety of older drivers and other road users by ensuring elderly drivers are still safe on the road. We will continue to fight for the recovery of accident victims injured in crashes caused by negligence as we have done for over 27 years. To schedule a free consultation to discuss your potential accident case, contact Michael R. Lawless, PA by calling our office locally at (913) 681-5566, or you may call us toll-free at (800) 734-3771. You may also contact us online and we will respond to your inquiry as soon as possible.