Many federal, state, and local government programs have recently been aimed at reducing the number of young people involved in car accidents. While this is certainly a worthy goal and focus, little has been said about some of the most high-risk drivers on the roads: the elderly. An attorney for car accident victims in Illinois would say that many of their clients have been injured by older drivers. According to USA Today, health and safety officials believe that the growing elderly population may pose a serious risk to those around them as they lose their ability to safely operate a motor vehicle but refuse to give up the privilege.
A potentially dangerous accident
A Buffalo Grove, Illinois woman was recently shocked to see a car come crashing through her home while she prepared for a surprise party. The Chicago-Sun Times reports that an elderly woman lost control of her car, causing her to crash through the homeowner’s garage door and a corner of her home. The house was deemed unsafe for habitation until repairs can be completed. While no injuries were sustained for the homeowner or the elderly driver, this accident could have easily ended with multiple fatalities and still requires the homeowner to seek compensation.
A recent study by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh in conjunction with the American Automobile Association’s Foundation for Traffic Safety found that injury and fatality rates for drivers increase after motorists reach the age of 65. When elderly drivers are 75 to 84 years old, they have death rates equal to those attributed to teenage drivers. When drivers are 85 and older, their fatality rates increase to almost 4 times that seen in teens. Road safety analysts believe that the growing elderly population, which is expected to have 73 percent more individuals aged 85 and older by 2030 than seen today, will eventually be responsible for 25 percent of fatal crashes.
No current prevention
States are struggling with finding an effective, yet fair solution to the problem. Older individuals often see their car as their last hope at maintaining independence, so few willingly give up their driving privileges. Here in Illinois, lawmakers have taken some action. According to Caring.com, the state requires drivers to renew their license every 4 years once they reach the age of 69. When drivers reach 81 years of age, that requirement changes to a 2-year renewal. The renewal process requires a vision test, road test and written test.