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Are older drivers more dangerous than other age groups?

Senior citizens may have age-related physical or cognitive conditions that could make it dangerous for them to be behind the wheel.

As they age, many people in West Virginia and elsewhere might not want to confront the fact that they may be losing some of their independence. It can be frustrating and even frightening to deal with age-related physical and cognitive conditions that affect one’s daily life, not to mention the ability to drive. Others may resist the need to hand over the keys because they worry about how they will get around without being able to drive. However, it is important for senior citizens and others to recognize the factors that can make it more dangerous for older drivers to get behind the wheel.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention report that in 2016, more than 290,000 U.S. drivers over the age of 65 were injured in motor vehicle crashes, and about 7,400 senior citizens were killed in crashes. However, the agency also states that elderly drivers’ risks are not necessarily associated with a declining ability to drive, but may be due to an increased propensity for older people to be injured or develop medical complications after an accident.

Potentially impairing age-related complications

Even so, there are numerous issues that people begin to develop with increasing age that may impair their ability to drive safely, states the National Institute on Aging. These can include the following:

· Decreased hearing and vision

· Impaired ability to make timely decisions

· Slower reflexes and compromised reaction time

· Physical problems, such as arthritis or untreated fractures

· Medications that can impair driving

· Serious medical conditions that can unexpectedly cause an accident, such as heart failure or stroke

Additionally, senior citizens may continue driving in the early stages of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

Fatal crash in Hurricane involving elderly man

An unknown medical problem appeared to be the cause of a crash that claimed the life of an elderly man in Hurricane last January. Reportedly, the man was driving to the hospital to be seen for a medical episode when his car crashed into a tree. He had already died by the time authorities arrived on the scene. There were no other vehicles involved in the crash, but the incident shows how other motorists could easily be caught in an accident involving an elderly driver experiencing a sudden medical emergency.

Accidents involving senior citizens are unfortunate and tragic, but those who are harmed by a negligent driver may be eligible for compensation. They may wish to speak with an experienced personal injury attorney in West Virginia.