Drivers' risks of being in accidents increase with age

Older drivers may be more at risk of being in an accident due to numerous age-related factors. Some states have licensing regulations for senior citizens.

Older drivers have the advantage of experience over other drivers. Many Missouri residents who have driven for decades are safe, conscientious drivers who obey traffic rules. However, there are a variety of factors that may make older drivers increasingly more likely to get into motor vehicle collisions.

Each day, state the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 15 older people are killed in crashes and 500 more are injured across the United States. Many of these are drivers who may be affected by medical conditions or other reasons that could present a danger to them and others sharing the roads.

Driving risk factors commonly associated with age

According to NIH Senior Health, many age-related factors can contribute to an increase in accident risk for drivers over age 75, including the following:

  • Declining vision and hearing, which may restrict a driver's ability to hear emergency vehicles or to recognize hazards on the road
  • Degenerative cognitive illnesses that may increase confusion or decision-making, such as Alzheimer's disease or dementia
  • Illnesses or medical conditions that may affect driving, such as diabetes, heart disease, complication from stroke or injuries
  • Medications that cause drowsiness

Some states have driver's license regulations for older residents to address these increased risks, states the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, while others have minimal to no differences in licensing requirements for older drivers. In Missouri, drivers age 70 and older are required to renew their licenses every three years, as compared to every six years for those under 70.

Elderly driver goes wrong way down Highway 63

A harrowing incident that occurred recently shed light on some of the challenges older drivers may face, as well as the potential dangers to others. KOMU News reported that last September, an elderly man drove the wrong way down Highway 63 in Boone County. Other drivers had to quickly move out of the way as the man sped down the road, with one other car losing control and ending up in the median before authorities caught up to the older driver. Fortunately, nobody was injured, but the situation could have easily turned tragic.

When another driver causes an accident that results in injuries or death, those involved may be able to seek compensation. Older drivers have just as much responsibility to be safe on the roads as everyone else. If they are determined to be negligent in a crash, they may be held liable for damages. An experienced personal injury attorney should be able to answer victims' questions and advise them on whether they have a case.

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