Older drivers take a lot of flack for being “dangerous” behind the wheel.
Like most stereotypes, this one is untrue – and there’s new data to prove it.
Drivers ages 65 and up are actually a lot less likely than younger drivers to be in fatal or serious injury-causing car accidents, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. Since the mid-1990s, fatal crashes overall have declined, and people ages 70 and older have a larger reduction than middle-aged drivers (43% compared to 21%).
Almost every age cohort has a higher fatal car crash rate than drivers ages 65 and up. (Drivers ages 55-64 are slightly less likely to be in a deadly crash than elders.)
Florida’s Elder Drivers
While nationwide elder drivers are less likely to be in fatal crashes, it still happens, especially here in Florida. It makes sense that our state has more elder accidents because the Sunshine State attracts a lot of elderly people. A little over 21% of the population is over age 64. The only state with a higher concentration of elderly residents is Maine.
In 2019, the most recent year for which information is available, about 765 elderly drivers were involved in fatal crashes.
Tips For A Safe, Older Driver
While some older drivers may need to stop driving, others just need support for safe driving. Here are some of the things older drivers can do to stay safe in the driver’s seat.
Education. Take a driver refresher course provided by the AAA or AARP. These courses often provide up-to-date information about laws as well as best overall driving behaviors and how to drive defensively.
Take a Test. If you’re wondering how well your driving skills are holding up, schedule a session with a local driving school instructor. Ask them to take a ride and note where you could improve your safe driving abilities.
Get Checkups. Health is a major factor in safe driving. In addition to your regular care providers, have your eyesight and hearing checked annually.
Exercise. Staying in motion keeps your body fit and improves your reaction time and range of movement, which can help you see from more angles while driving.
Get the Right Car. Don’t sell yourself short. If you can afford a nicer vehicle with enhanced safety features, get it. Many cars made in the last few years come with features like lane assist, backup video cameras, cruise control, and distance sensors. You do not have to buy brand-new to access these features.
Make the Call. Plan ahead. We all know, at some point, advanced age will make it unsafe for us to drive. It can be hard to judge this situation yourself. Safety experts suggest before you near elder years, create an “advance driving directive.” This will name someone you trust to tell you when it’s time to limit your driving – say to daylight hours, or only trips of 15 minutes or less – or surrender your keys.
Florida Car Accident Fault
Despite what the media may have you believe, elder drivers are by and large good drivers. It’s not fair that in a crash with a senior citizen many people jump to the assumption that the older driver is at fault.
Protect yourself from undue blame. If you are an older car accident victim who has been injured or lost a loved one it is important that you fully understand your rights. Our Sarasota-based car accident law firm can help.
Farrow & Pulice, P.A. conducts thorough crash investigations that turn up strong evidence to support your injury claim. We do not accept lowball settlement offers.
We have offices across Southwestern Florida including Sarasota, Bradenton, Englewood, Port Charlotte, and Venice. Our car accident attorneys offer free case evaluations to people injured in Florida crashes. A member of our team can explain how the law applies to you and your legal options. Contact Farrow & Pulice to schedule your free case evaluation right now.