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How Dangerous Are Elderly Drivers?

On Behalf of | Feb 10, 2016 | Elderly Driver

WJHG Channel 7 reports there was a tragic accident that occurred on last Tuesday night where one individual lost his life. The traffic crash happened in Calhoun County when a 71 year old man from Altha driving a Camry rolled through a stop sign and into the path of a Dodge Durango. The Durango hit the driver’s side of the Camry and the elderly man did not survive his injuries. It happened at the intersection of County Road 274 and Porter Road just after 7 p.m. The elderly man’s passenger and the two people in the Durango suffered injuries too.

Our thoughts go out with all of those injured and deceased along with their families as they deal with this tragic accident. gives some helpful insight into elderly drivers which we have seen an increase of here in Florida. Research on age-related driving concerns has shown that at around the age of 65 drivers face an increased risk of being involved in a vehicle crash. After the age of 75, the risk of driver fatality increases sharply, because older drivers are more vulnerable to both crash-related injury and death. Three behavioral factors in particular may contribute to these statistics: poor judgement in making left-hand turns; drifting within the traffic lane; and decreased ability to change behavior in response to an unexpected or rapidly changing situation. Statistics, based on all people injured or killed in traffic crashes, indicate that older drivers are at a disproportionate risk for becoming involved in fatal crashes. A NHTSA study of 1995 FARS (Fatal Accident Reporting System) data reports that senior citizens accounted for:

· 5% of all people injured in traffic crashes

· 13% of all traffic fatalities

· 13% of all vehicle occupant fatalities

· 18% of all pedestrian fatalities

In a 1997 NHTSA study, older people made up 9 percent of the population but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. NHTSA’s “Traffic Safety Facts 1997: Older Population” (DOT HS 808 769) reports that:

· In 1997, more than 24 million people in the United States were over 70 years of age.

· Representing 9 percent of the population in 1997, the 70-and-older age group grew 2.1 times faster from 1987 to 1997 than the total population.

· In 1986 older drivers were 7 percent of licensed drivers; in 1996 they were 19 percent of licensed drivers.

· Of traffic fatalities involving older drivers, 82 percent happened in the daytime, 71 percent occurred on weekdays, and 75 percent involved a second vehicle.

· When a crash involved an older driver and a younger driver, the older driver was 3 times as likely as the younger driver to be the one struck. Moreover, 28 percent of crash-involved older drivers were turning left when they were struck– 7 times more often than younger drivers were struck while making left turns.

· Older drivers involved in fatal crashes and fatally injured older pedestrians claimed the lowest proportion of intoxication–defined as a blood alcohol concentration of 0.10 grams per deciliter or higher.

· While only 55 percent of adult vehicle occupants (ages 18 to 69) involved in fatal crashes were using restraints at the time of the crash, 70 percent of fatal- crash-involved older occupants were using restraints.

· “On the basis of estimated annual travel, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times as high as the rate for drivers 25 through 69 years old.”

As the website so eloquently put, to be a safe driver, paying attention to road conditions and your own body changes is essential. A person’s chronological age is not an absolute predictor of driving ability, but its impact should not be denied. Ultimately, however, what counts on the road is performance.

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident in Northwest Florida, contact us at Brannon & Brannon (850)650-2252.




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