Understanding the Heightened Car Accident Risks for Seniors in Sarasota Florida
The evolving landscape of Sarasota, Florida roadways sees older drivers more frequently behind the wheel. Despite seniors usually being more careful and employing safe driving practices such as avoiding speeding and driving under the influence, they are more susceptible to severe injury or fatality in a car crash. In such cases, a local Sarasota car accident lawyer could be a critical advocate for those affected.
At Goldman, Babboni, Fernandez, Murphy & Walsh, our proficient team of Sarasota car accident lawyers understands the worries about senior drivers on the road, especially in Florida. The state is known for a high number of traffic fatalities involving drivers aged 65 and older. As our Baby Boomer population continues to age, we predict an increase in crash rates.
Statistics from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) show about 35 million licensed drivers in the U.S. aged 65 and older, a figure set to rise to 40 million by 2020. Projections in Florida suggest that by 2030, one in four drivers will be over 65. In 2012, car accidents claimed the lives of 5,560 senior drivers nationwide and injured 214,000 more, highlighting the critical role that a Sarasota car accident attorney can play.
Florida, unfortunately, carries the burden of having the highest percentage of older drivers and, in correlation, the highest number of accidents involving seniors. TRIP, a national transportation research group, noted that within a single year, 271 senior drivers in Florida tragically died in car accidents. The fatalities involving a senior driver, of all ages, exceeded 500.
The Advantages and Concerns
Despite the rising number of accidents as drivers age, particularly those above 80, it's not necessarily due to a higher propensity for accidents. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention pointed out these drivers are more susceptible to injuries and ensuing medical complications. If injured, contacting a car accident lawyer in Sarasota can be instrumental in navigating the aftermath.
Nevertheless, it's worth mentioning that seniors have some safety advantages on the road:
- • They are more likely to use their seat belts, with nearly 80 percent buckling up.
- • Senior drivers typically avoid driving during unfavorable weather, at night, or in heavy traffic, reducing their chances of an accident.
- • Impaired driving is less prevalent among senior drivers, with only 5 percent of deadly crashes involving a senior driver reporting a blood-alcohol concentration of 0.08 or higher.
- • They generally disapprove of and refrain from phone use while driving, minimizing distractions.
Despite these positives, there are some worries. Age-related deficits such as reduced vision, slower cognitive processing, and physical limitations can lead to higher crash rates among senior drivers. The increased usage of prescription medications and the potential for medical emergencies while driving also present additional risks. In these situations, a car accident attorney in Sarasota can help manage the legal aspects.
The Challenges Faced by Senior Drivers
Decreased Vision: Safe driving depends heavily on good vision, which naturally declines with age. This decline affects the ability to perceive and react to hazards, road signs, pedestrians, and other vehicles. Seniors may also struggle with nighttime vision, dealing with the glare of oncoming headlights, or transitioning quickly from light to dark and vice versa. Reduced peripheral vision and the development of eye diseases, like cataracts or macular degeneration, exacerbate these issues.
Slower Cognitive Processing:
Aging can also affect cognitive abilities, particularly processing speed and multitasking. This can increase the risk of accidents, making the services of a Sarasota car accident lawyer invaluable in these unfortunate events.