Florida’s Aging Drivers May Pose a Threat

florida's aging drivers may pose a threatFlorida has long been known as a retirement paradise for aging seniors across the country. According to the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County, nearly 5 million seniors call Florida their home and seniors over the age of 60 make up 23% of the state’s population. By 2020, they are expected to make up of 28% of the overall population, which is only growing larger in the Sunshine state. These seniors bring much value and prosperity to the state in their retirement years, but they also bring with them an increased risk.

As healthcare improves and technology advances, adults are living longer and healthier lives. As a result, drivers over the age of 70 are traveling more. From 1996 to 2008, yearly mileage for aging drivers increased by 42%. However, this can come with an increased risk. The CDC reported that fatal crashes-per-miles driven increased for seniors and multiple vehicle crashes accounted for 40% of all fatal accidents in drivers over the age of 80. Seniors over the age of 80 are involved in 5.5 times as many fatal crashes per mile driven compared to middle-age drivers.

These risks should be considered when determining when it is time to hang up the keys for good.

Determining if Your Aging Loved One is Safe to Continue Driving

Many seniors are outliving their ability to safely drive a car. This can put themselves and everyone on the road at risk. Caregivers and family members should continually evaluate whether or not their aging loved one is safe behind the wheel. This means taking a number of age-related health conditions into account, including:

  • Decreased flexibility
  • Arthritis
  • Poor eyesight
  • Hearing problems
  • Diminished reflexes
  • Mental fogginess
  • Forgetfulness
  • Difficulty interpreting surroundings
  • Aggression behind the wheel
  • Fatigue or mental drowsiness

In addition to evaluating their mental and physical condition, family members should be on the lookout for other indicators that their aging loved one is no longer safe behind the wheel. If you begin to notice these red flags, it may be time for them to stop driving.

  • Near misses or fender benders
  • Traffic infractions
  • Getting lost
  • Confusion behind the wheel
  • Driving the wrong way
  • Getting confused behind the wheel
  • Forgetting the basics of driving

The topic of unsafe driving is a difficult one to bring up with your aging loved one. It may be their last form of independence and many seniors are reluctant to stop driving. If you believe that your loved one is unsafe, however, it is absolutely a conversation you must have with them. If needed, contact their doctor and ask for an evaluation. They may handle this new change better if it is recommended by their trusted family physician.

Have You Been Injured in a Car Crash in Florida?

If you’ve been injured in a car accident in Daytona Beach, Florida and you believe that someone else’s negligence was to blame, we can help. At Zimmet & Zimmet, our experienced Daytona Beach car accident lawyers have extensive experience assisting injured accident victims collect the compensation they need to recover from their injuries and put their lives back together again. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and review of your case. Call 386-255-6400 or fill out our confidential contact form.

Additional Reading

What to Do If You Are Injured by a Drunk Driver

Understanding Negligence in a Personal Injury Case