Statistics and studies show that older drivers may suffer a reduction in driving skill. Age-related health conditions may contribute to the risk.
With age comes experience, or so the adage goes. Spending many decades at a particular task may make a person confident, proficient and safe with the job at hand. However, it seems that some abilities decline after a certain age. Driving may be one of them, if studies and statistics are accurate. According to Consumer Reports, those older than 80 may be six times more at risk of being involved in a deadly accident than drivers who are younger. This means that older drivers may put others in New York City at risk of an accident.
Studies suggest the risk is real
Numerous studies suggest that a driver’s attention, reaction time and ability to react quickly to hazards may all start to decline in later years. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, older drivers are particularly at risk of being in fatal car crashes at intersections. These accidents frequently involve failing to observe stop signs, making improper left turns or not observing yield signs. Accidents at traffic signals, on the other hand, do not involve seniors as often. Other studies cite the most common driving mistake among older drivers as failure to yield the right-of-way. They are also said to fail to pay attention, or to look but not see obstacles and dangers.
What exactly is the cause of the increased risk for senior drivers? NIH Senior Health points out that numerous age-related factors may affect driving ability. These can include the following:
- Declining cognitive ability, especially with the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease when people are undiagnosed
- Age-related illnesses or injuries
- Failing hearing or vision, which may affect a driver’s ability to recognize and react to dangers
To address these increased risks, many states have different rules for driver’s license renewal for those over a certain age. For example, some states may decrease the length of time between renewals or require a vision test at every renewal. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, New York has no separate rules for driver’s license renewal with older residents.
Elderly woman causes multi-vehicle accident on Staten Island
One bewildering accident on Staten Island in June may highlight some of the risks associated with older drivers. According to the Daily Star, a 78-year-old woman got into a minor crash, but then sped away and struck several vehicles at a red light. Her car went airborne, and then was struck by other cars after it landed. One person was killed and 13 others were injured. The woman later died in the hospital, so it is unknown whether confusion, panic or some other factor contributed to the accident.
Accidents are unfortunate no matter the age of the person who was deemed responsible. If you were injured due to someone’s negligence, you may wish to contact an experienced New York personal injury attorney to determine if you are eligible for compensation.