Older Americans have just as much right as anyone else to enjoy the nation’s roadways. Some people think that elderly individuals are more unsafe drivers than their younger cohorts. While it is true that they do have some unique challenges, they are actually fairly safe drivers. statistically.
It is imperative that all drivers, regardless of age, drive safely. Here are some points that might surprise some individuals about older drivers:
- Drunk driving isn’t as prevalent in older drivers as in younger ones. When you tally up statistics from all age groups, around 20 percent of drivers who were in a fatal crash had a blood alcohol concentration that met or exceeded the legal limit of .08 percent. Of drivers who were 75 years old or older, only 6 percent met that criteria after a fatal crash.
- Older drivers tend to wear their seat belt more than those who are younger. In adults 21 to 24 years of age, the rate of safety belt usage in a crash was only 37 percent, which is the lowest rate of all age groups. In drivers who are 65 to 74, the rate is 60 percent. That increases to 71 percent for drivers who are 75 and older.
- Younger drivers are more likely to drive in unsafe conditions. Elderly drivers usually won’t drive at night or in the rain, and they are less likely to take high speed roads. This puts them at less of a risk for being involved in a crash in which one of those conditions was a factor.
- The rate of fatal crashes begins to increase in drivers who are 70 to 74, when considering the number of wrecks per miles traveled. It increases again in the 85 and older age group. Interestingly, unsafe driving might not be the contributing factor here. It is believed that medical conditions and an increase in the likelihood of injury play a part. Of course, a cognitive decline and vision changes can also impact the senior citizen’s ability to drive safely.
Older drivers on the roads may drive safely, but still end up in a crash due to another driver’s actions. When negligence is a factor in the crash, that senior citizen might choose to seek compensation for the damages. This can minimize the financial hit that they have to live with because of someone else’s unsafe driving.