The Elderly And Auto Collisions: What You Should Know

Florida is home to a larger population of older adults compared to other states. In fact, it has been reported that more than a quarter of the state's total population is at least 60 years of age, while 20% are over the age of 65. Does a higher elderly population often equate to an increase in auto collisions? While this may be true, there are some other factors to consider other than age alone.

The Statistics

Let's take a closer look at some of the statistics when it comes to elderly drivers in Florida. Did you know that drivers over 55 years old account for approximately 36.7% of licensed motorists? Although that number might seem low, those individuals also account for more than half of the auto accidents in the state that result in death.

Additionally, the odds of being involved in a deadly auto collision based on miles traveled are much higher among motorists who are aged 85 and older.

Why Higher Collision Statistics?

So why do the numbers seem so much higher when it involves the state's elderly drivers? It’s because age is often associated with a decline in several functions, including vision and hearing. This could be the result of common conditions like cataracts or the effects of diabetes.

Cognitive functions also decrease as we age, and this can significantly affect a person's memory as well as their attention span, which isn't good while driving. Some medical problems, including dementia or Alzheimer's disease, can affect one's ability to drive safely. The medication people take can have an adverse effect on their driving skills and reaction times as well.

Furthermore, if the motorist suffers from ailments such as arthritis or muscular decline and any other similar complications, that makes it harder for them to control the vehicle or react quickly when needed.

Renewal Cycles

In the state of Florida, you need to renew your driver's license every eight years if you are over the age of 79. When you hit 80, it goes down to every six years. When renewing your license at these ages, it is also required for you to prove that your vision is adequate.

Common Causes Of Elderly Driving Accidents

Younger people are more likely to cause an auto collision as a result of speeding and reckless driving. Elderly drivers, on the other hand, get into accidents because they commit the following errors:

• Driving through a red light or stop sign
• Driving too slowly—under the speed limit
• Braking unexpectedly
• Practicing poor judgment when it comes to distance
• Driving the wrong way on a road
• Making improper turns
• Driving when visibility is lower such as during the evening, dusk, or dawn

Proving Negligence

If you have been involved in an accident with an elderly driver, you will need to prove that they are the one who caused the accident. Unless you can prove fault, you may not be able to recover any compensation for your damages.

To prove fault, you need to collect evidence. This may even include proving that the elderly driver's eyesight isn't adequate. You can also gather information pertaining to the other driver's physical and mental condition at the time of the accident. However, if an elderly motorist has hit you, never assume that the accident was the result of their age or abilities.

A thorough investigation that includes a review of medical records, the accident report, driving records, and witness testimony needs to take place. This is what would happen for any other kind of auto accident.

To help with the process, you can seek the counsel of a seasoned personal injury attorney. They can walk you through the steps and help ensure that you have all the documentation you need to prove your case.

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