Girardi | Keese

Roads More Dangerous for Elderly Drivers

Everyone grows older -- it's part of living. Although reaching old age is a positive milestone in many ways, becoming elderly requires us to prepare for the changes that come with age, both mentally and physically. The ways in which we will need to approach many day-to-day tasks will change, and this includes driving.

A recent study has found that elderly drivers are more frequently involved in motor vehicle accidents and are more likely to suffer injury from them. This could be due to a number of reasons, the study reported, including:

  • Senior citizens' fragile bodies are more susceptible to injury in a car accident
  • The elderly more often drive in areas that have higher risks of accidents, like non-freeway busy roads and city streets
  • Driving skills may not keep pace with the physical and mental changes of aging

This recognition has brought some senior citizen associations to offer driving refresher classes which remind senior citizens about more intricate driving techniques in trickier situations (including driving on icy roads and in highly congested traffic).

The State of California has also recognized the special needs of elderly drivers, and has considered implementing a graded driver's license program that would set limitations based on a driver's way of life, needs for driving and driving skill. Though controversial, some have argued that the law is necessary to keep California roads safe.

Either way, anyone who has had a close call in an accident will tell you that it can be a frightening experience that serves as a reminder of how important road safety is to prevent injury and death.

Source: TimesHerald.com, "Study shows elderly have high crash, fatality rates," Mar. 1, 2012.

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