Older driver in fatal three-car New Jersey crash

According to the CDC, older drivers are more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than younger drivers.

As people age, there will come a time when it is necessary to give up the keys, no matter how competent they were at driving in the past. Numerous factors related to getting older progressively make it more unsafe to drive. To address the problem of senior driving safety, many states have enacted laws for driver's licensing, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These may include requiring vision or driving tests after a certain age or shortening the length of time between driver's license renewals. However, New Jersey has no provisions for older drivers.

According to Consumer Reports, people age 80 and older are six times more likely to be involved in a fatal car accident than younger drivers. This does not necessarily mean that senior citizens are negligent drivers; instead, it can point to common factors that older people face, which increase the danger for not only themselves, but for others on the road.

Issues senior drivers are likely to encounter

According to NIH Senior Health, several factors can affect elderly drivers and increase the risk of an accident. These may include:

  • Eyesight or hearing that isn't as good as it used to be
  • Medical conditions or mental impairments related to age, such as arthritis or dementia
  • Decreased ability to recognize or react to hazards on the road
  • Reduced reflexes and reaction time
  • Additional cognitive or physical restrictions

On a daily basis, about 15 older people are killed and 500 more are injured across the U.S. in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is unknown what caused a recent New Jersey accident, but the above point was tragically the case for a 60-year-old woman in Hazlet. According to NJ.com, as the woman drove through an intersection, her vehicle was hit by a pickup truck. Another vehicle traveling behind the truck was not able to avoid the crash. The woman in the original car was killed at the scene of the accident, while the pickup driver was hospitalized and the third driver received minor injuries. Investigators were still unsure if the woman was at fault for the crash.

Driving longer and safer

According to HelpGuide, senior citizens who are concerned about their driving can speak with their physicians about treatments, such as medication or therapy, that can allow them to drive safely for as long as possible. However, it is important to understand that in giving up the keys, lives may be saved. It's difficult to lose a part of one's independence after enjoying it for so many decades, but in many cases it is necessary, and better than being responsible for a tragic accident.

If you or a loved one was in a car crash that was caused by a senior driver, you may be eligible for compensation. Contact an experienced personal injury attorney to discuss your rights.

Keywords: auto, car, accident, injury