Older adults and the elderly may still drive as long as they meet the same requirements as other drivers, such as passing driving tests and vision tests. In fact, in 2018, there were over 45 million people over the age of 65 who were licensed to drive in America.
Older adults are sometimes excellent drivers because of the practice they’ve had over the years. In other cases, though, they do create hazards for others.
Older drivers and medication risk
One of the reasons why older drivers are a risk to others is because they usually take more medications than others. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, four out of five older adults take at least one medication each day. Those medications may cause side effects that impact the driver’s ability to be safe on the roads.
This is reflected in the total number of adults over 65 killed in crashes. In 2018, around 7,700 people over the age of 65 were fatally injured in traffic collisions. Another 250,000 ended up in emergency rooms around the country to receive treatment for their injuries.
Medical problems begin to impact driving skills
Medical problems can hurt a person’s ability to drive safely, just as their medications can. The CDC found that older adults were over twice as likely to have a condition that could negatively influence their ability to drive compared to those under the age of 65.
What can older drivers do to be safer on the roads?
Older drivers can take action to be safer. They should be clear about their medical conditions and talk to their medical providers about the risks their medications pose. Older drivers should take regular vision tests and drive in good weather (and during the day) whenever possible.
There are also excellent alternatives to driving that may help keep drivers who can no longer drive safely off the roads, like ride-sharing services and public transportation.
If you are struck by someone who is older, they can be held liable for driving when it was not safe for them to do so. This is something to keep in mind after you’re involved in a traffic accident.