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Older Drivers Becoming More Common on the Roads

A recent forum conducted by the National Transportation Safety Board revealed some interesting information about traffic safety and older drivers. Experts told the board they expect the number of drivers over the age of 65 to increase to 20% over the next 15 years and nearly double from around 30 million today to 57 million by 2030.

What does all of this mean in terms of car accidents and safety issues? Maybe not too much right now. Statistics show that healthy drivers over the age of 65 are no more likely to cause, or be involved in car accidents, until they reach the age of about 75. The Insurance institute for Highway Safety claims that fatal crashes for older drivers begin increase around 75, and by the age of 85, those drivers have an even higher fatality rate than do drivers in their teens or early twenties.

Why exactly does the fatality rate increase so greatly? There are a few reasons. The first is a general decline in health as people get older. Studies have shown that we lose the ability to see at night as we age and we gradually lose the ability to accurately judge distances and speed. In addition, reflexes get slower and our bodies become less flexible. This general decline tends to make older drivers less responsive to dangerous situations and changing conditions.

The other reason behind the dramatic rise in fatalities for older drivers is that they become less able to survive the trauma of car accident as they get older. At a certain age, people do not heal as quickly as they did when they were younger and can more easily suffer serious injuries and fractures with even a relatively minor collision.

Regardless of the circumstances, being involved in a car accident is always a serious matter. If were injured by someone driving negligently or recklessly it doesn't really matter if you are young or old, you still need to make sure your wellbeing is protected. In order to do that, you may need to speak to an attorney to guard your rights.

Source: The Washington Post, As Boomers Age, 1 in 5 Drivers Will be Oldsters, Joan Lowy 11/9/10

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