Aging brings significant changes in people’s lifestyles and abilities, especially when it comes to driving. People ages 65 and older tend to have slower reaction times behind the wheel than their younger counterparts. This can be brought on by illness, medication or simply the process of getting older.
Unfortunately, slower reaction times when driving can put both the driver and those sharing the road with them in dangerous situations.
Accidents caused by elderly drivers
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), approximately 7,500 older adults were killed in traffic crashes and nearly 200,000 elderly drivers were treated in emergency departments for crash-related injuries in 2020. Of these accidents, many of them were a result of:
- Driving the wrong direction against traffic
- Turning left at an intersection before a green arrow gives the signal
- Crashing into pedestrians
- Turning right at a yield sign against traffic moving 45 mph or more
- Crashing into buildings
- Not seeing traffic signs
- Improper signaling (ie: signaling a right turn, then turning left)
In order to help curb some of these accidents, the state of North Carolina requires that drivers over the age of 65 renew their license in person every five years. At that time, they will be given a vision test. They may also be asked to take a written test if their driving record reflects a number of fender benders or traffic violations.
Taking the keys away
Knowing when to take keys away from an elderly family member is tricky. You’re essentially asking them to give up their last bit of freedom. However, if your parent has had several close calls on the road, it’s in everyone’s best interest to ask them to retire from driving before someone is seriously injured or killed.
What if I’ve been injured by an elderly driver?
If you have been injured by an elderly driver you may be entitled to compensation for damages and medical bills.