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Examining the tendencies of elderly drivers

Advances in medical science and an increased emphasis on healthier living has Long Beach residents enjoying their independence much longer than many of their predecessors. One activity that today’s seniors are continuing on with at a higher rate than in years past is driving. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports that the years 1997 to 2012 saw a 30 percent increase in the number of drivers age 70 and above. Yet as is the case with so many other aspects of life, Father Time can eventually take his toll on one’s driving skills.

According to the CDC, incidence rates of fatal car accidents begin to increase once drivers reach the age of 75. Yet a closer look at those numbers show that increase to be more due to the fact that medical complications may leave elderly drivers and passengers more likely to suffer death or serious injury an accident. In terms of driving tendencies, elderly drivers have proven to follow safe driving practices better than their younger counterparts. On average, seniors tend to wear their seatbelts more and are less likely to drive during dangerous conditions than younger drivers.

Still, there are certain challenges that come with aging that may also increase the likelihood of an elderly driver being involved in or causing an accident. These include:

  •          Increased medication use
  •          Loss of visual acuity
  •          Inhibited motor skills

The families and friends of seniors reluctant to give up driving may do well to discuss these points with them in order to decrease the potential of injuries to themselves and others as well as the possibility of liability claims stemming from a car accident

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