People aged 65 and older are at higher risk or injury and death if they are in a car crash due to their fragility. There are certain conditions related to aging, such as fading or impaired eyesight or hearing or drowsiness-inducing medications, that may make elderly drivers less able to drive safely.
Over 200,000 drivers 65 and older were injured in a vehicle collision in 2016. Over 3,500 were killed. On average, because of the increases in longevity, senior citizens become unable to drive safely in roughly the last 7 to 10 years of their lives.
Only 17% of Senior Citizens Have Spoken to Family Members About Car Safety
It’s important for senior citizens to plan for what the Automobile Association of America (AAA) terms “driving retirement” before a precipitating incident such as an injury or crash occurs. Yet AAA statistics indicate that only 17 of senior citizens have had discussions with their families about safe driving as they age. In other words, almost 83% of drivers aged 65 and older haven’t had any conversations about safe driving and aging, either their family members or doctors.
Even the senior citizens who have had these conversations have overwhelmingly (15%) had them only when a vehicle accident or violation of traffic laws has occurred.
Clearly, the safer course is to actively plan for the eventuality of an older person not being safe while driving or able to drive before it occurs.
How to Have a About Driving with an Elder
But family members may not know how to broach or discuss this issue. The AAA recommends the following.
1. Be proactive and positive
Try to initiate a conversation early. Be supportive and positive about ways to keep your older loved one safe as they drive. Research other possible forms of transportation.
2. Focus on specifics
Don’t generalize about the ability of older drivers. Focus on your loved one’s skills and abilities.
3. Have a one-to-one conversation
A trusted family member should speak to the senior citizen. You want to avoid feelings of anger or anxiety.
4. Stick to facts
Don’t discuss the situation as if all older drivers need to be stopped. The AAA recommends focusing on specifics about the senior citizen’s situation, like eyesight or prescriptions that may affect driving and make it less than safe.
5. Include the senior citizen
Senior citizens need to be active in making a plan for driving retirement. Don’t dictate, but plan jointly.
If You Need to Talk to a Car Accident Attorney
If you or an elderly loved one has been in a car accident in New York state, the experienced car accident lawyers at Edelman, Krasin & Jaye can help.
Our initial consultation is free; we will discuss your case and potential next steps. Call 1-800-469-7429 for a free consultation with a seasoned New York City and Long Island car wreck lawyer today.
- Automobile Association of America. AAA Newsroom. “More than 80 Percent of Older Drivers Aren’t Talking About Driving Safety.” August 14, 2018. https://newsroom.aaa.com/2018/08/older-drivers-talking-driving-safety/
- Automobile Association of America. Driver Planning Agreement. https://seniordriving.aaa.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/08/Driver-Planning-Agreement.pdf.