Broward Traffic Safety: Elderly Drivers in Focus

Florida has more elderly drivers than any other state in the country. With more than 17 percent of population 65-years-old or older, experts are expecting that number to grow substantially. As a matter of fact, predictions calculate that about 25 percent of drivers will be 65-years-old or older in the state of Florida by 2030.

According to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV), the Sunshine State observes Older Driver Safety Week to help raise awareness about the problems that elderly drivers face. As we age, it’s normal for our driving abilities to change. By reducing risk factors and incorporating safe driving practices, many of us can continue driving long into our senior years. But we do have to pay attention to warning signs that age is interfering with our driving safety and make appropriate adjustments
Our injury attorneys in Fortlauderdale understand everyone ages differently, so there is no textbook answer for when to give up your car keys. But there are some key factors that can help you determine when it’s time. If you’re feeling pain or stiffness in your body, you may have a tough time looking over your shoulder to change lanes or looking around before passing through an intersection. When elderly drivers have leg pain, they can have a tough time moving their foot from the gas to the brake. With age, reaction time increases as well. Vision and hearing are also significantly impacted by advancing age. It’s critical to get these senses checked regularly to make sure that you’re not missing out on anything on the road.

In 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. An average of 500 older adults are injured every day in crashes. Thankfully, there are steps that older adults can take to stay safer on the roads.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there were close to 6,000 older adults who were killed in traffic accidents last year. In addition, another 185,000 were injured. That means that 15 were killed each day and another 500 were injured.

“Being able to remain active and product members of their communities is important to older residents, and by highlighting the importance of driver safety, we hope they can continue to safely enjoy this freedom,” said Julie L. Jones with the DHSMV.

If you suspect that an older family member’s driving skills have deteriorated, take a ride with him. Note whether he has trouble judging gaps in traffic, following traffic signals and road signs, maneuvering or parking the car, or remembering the route.

If you think that there’s a problem, you want to address it head-on. Far too often, family members wait until it’s too late and an accident has already occurred.

When you’re ready to talk, focus not on whether the driver should hang up the keys, but on mobility and the continued need for it. Talk about where the person needs to go, and when. Talk about alternatives to driving, such as mass transit or cabs or someone picking them up.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, contact Richard Ansara at 954 761-3641 or toll-free at 877-277-3780 for a free and confidential consultation to discuss your case.

More Blog Entries:

Bicyclist Death Blamed on Speeding, Drunk, Hit-And-Run Driver, Broward Injury lawyer Blog, November 15, 2013
Whiplash: Serious Injuries in Low-Speed Accidents, Broward Injury lawyer Blog, November 1, 2013

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