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Are elderly drivers making the roads less safe?

In general, most older drivers avoid talking about a failing ability to drive. They do not alert their doctors or family members to diminishing eyesight, slower reaction times or other factors that could be affecting their driving. Part of the reason for this is that people fear the loss of their freedom as they enter their later years. Many of the elderly view losing their driving privileges as the beginning of the end in terms of being able to take care of themselves.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there needs to be a change in this area. Furthermore, it is often up to family members to begin the conversation about what will happen when a loved one can no longer safely drive. Usually, the earlier family members begin this conversation, the easier it will go on all parties involved.

Tips for the talk

When it comes time to talk to one of your loved ones about their lessening ability to drive, it is best to do it in a compassionate and reasonable way. For example, instead of pointing out they are making the road dangerous, focus on your loved one's safety. Also, discuss alternatives so that everyone understands the plan and your loved one does not feel isolated.

Driving fatalities

In 2016, over 6,000 people who were 65 or older died in car wrecks. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), this accounted for approximately 18 percent of all car accident fatalities.

Advances in technology

Fortunately, the auto industry has been working on technology, such as self-driving cars, that may extend seniors' mobility and independence. The downside of this is that many elderly people are not very open to learning new technology.

While elderly drivers do not necessarily make the roads less safe, they are often at a higher risk of becoming involved in a car accident, even ones that are not their fault. Furthermore, they also have a greater risk of suffering serious and fatal injuries due to a motor vehicle collision. If you or a loved one has been the victim of a negligent or reckless driver, you might be able to file a claim and receive compensation for your injuries and other damages.

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