Are you concerned about an elderly loved one’s determination to remain mobile and independent and not give up the keys to their car? Were you injured in a San Fernando Valley car accident caused by a senior citizen who technically should not have been driving? If you can relate to either of these experiences, keep reading.
It seems that older people are often stubborn when it comes to admitting they should not longer be driving, or giving up their drivers licenses. And in places like Los Angeles County, who can blame them? Getting around via public transportation is often not the easiest in our part of the country. However, this is no excuse to put oneself or others at risk. It is an unfortunate and true statistic that the risk of being injured or killed in a motor vehicle crash increases as you age. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes. According to the CDC, fatal crash rates per mile traveled increase starting at age 75 and jump notably after age 80. Experts believe this is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than an increased tendency to get into crashes.
Older Drivers are Vulnerable
Older drivers are vulnerable on the road for several reasons. Studies show that physical, cognitive, and visual abilities decline with advancing age. Many older drivers also take medications which can impair driving ability. Perhaps due to vision impairments or similar conditions, elderly drivers are more likely to be involved in angle crashes, overtaking or merging collisions, and street intersection crashes. If you were injured in a car accident caused by an elderly driver, reach out to an experienced personal injury attorney.
Elderly Drivers and Statistics
It is very important that you require that your loved one speak to his/her doctor and the DMV about his/her ability to drive. Again, the risk of a senior driving injuring himself or another person increases dramatically with age. For example, according to the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), multiple vehicle crashes at intersections accounted for 35% of the crashes for drivers 80 years and older compared with 18% for drivers between the ages of 20 and 49.
How Do I Ask an Older Family Member to Stop Driving?
Asking a person to give up his/her perceived independence and freedom can be challenging. If you have an older family member who refuses to stop driving, consider trying one of these strategies:
- Talk to other family members or friends who can intervene and help. Older drivers may be more likely to listen with an open mind to those outside the family.
- Be discreet and considerate of your loved one’s feelings.
- Talk to your loved one’s doctor. Senior citizens tend to listen to and respect the advice of their doctor.
- File a report with the Department of Motor Vehicles. Your letter should include your reasons for making the complaint and information about how the authority can contact your parent or loved one.
- If the person you are concerned about is not able to understand the danger he poses to himself and others you may have to take extreme measures, such as disabling the vehicle or hiding car keys.
For more information on car accidents caused by elderly drivers, contact the legal professionals and San Fernando Valley attorney Barry P. Goldberg today.