Car accidents are a sad reality that we all live with. For years, it was a conventionally held belief that older drivers were less safe on the road. The thought was that poor eyesight, delayed reaction times and diminished cognitive ability made senior citizens bad drivers who were more at risk of an accident.
In 1997, there were more than 4,000 fatal accidents involving older drivers. This struck fear into the hearts of many as they considered the baby boomer population nearing retirement. Some assumed that our roads would get progressively dangerous as this population would age.
However, the opposite has proved to be true.
A comprehensive study from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has found that senior drivers are actually less likely to crash than their middle-aged counterparts. The study posits that this can be explained by various factors, including better healthcare, vehicle safety features and overall, more healthy and youthful seniors than our society has ever enjoyed before. Experience may also play an essential factor. Today, most seniors on the road have been driving for decades and have developed a fantastic predictive and defensive driving sense. Amazingly, for drivers 70 and over, fatal car accident rates have fallen 43% since a peak in 1997.
The one caveat to this good news is that when accidents do occur with senior drivers, they are more likely to suffer severe or fatal injuries than their middle-aged or young counterparts. Older bodies are more fragile than young ones. An injury that someone in their 30s or 40s might walk away from might have a lifelong impact or even spell the demise for someone 70 plus.
If you or a loved one are involved in a car accident as a senior, reach out to Karns & Karns for help and representation. We understand that the injuries suffered by an elderly driver are often going to be more intense and are prepared to support and get justice.