Are older drivers at greater risk for car accidents?

Are older drivers at greater risk for car accidents?

On Behalf of | Jan 25, 2021 | Car Accident |

Age does not preclude someone from renewing a driver’s license or an automobile insurance policy. However, as someone ages, there could be cognitive and perception issues contributing to greater difficulty operating a motor vehicle. Age takes its toll, but not everyone declines at the same rate or in the same way. Some people past the age of 80 have sharp eyesight and quick reflexes. Unfortunately, many others do not. One thing is certain, though; the number of people living longer in our society is steadily increasing.

Seniors and automobile accidents

Facts and statistics about seniors involved in vehicle accidents might seem somewhat confusing. As various factors contribute to our population living longer than in previous generations, more people over the age of 70 continue to drive. Older drivers may find themselves involved in more accidents than middle-aged persons, but the number of fatal accidents with seniors is lower than some might believe.

The general driving habits of seniors may factor into fewer fatalities. A retired person doesn’t commute daily, so they tend to drive less. In addition, an older person running errands on occasion is less likely to travel on the highway. When accidents occur on local residential streets at slow speeds, there is less chance of a massive collision.

That’s not to say seniors are not involved in serious accidents or ones involving fatalities. However, the number of fatal accidents with senior drivers appears to be decreasing. Perhaps new safety technology plays a role.

Negligence and a duty to care

Older drivers could find themselves legally responsible for accidents when their behavior is negligent. Someone who drives without prescription glasses or gets behind the wheel after taking medication that causes drowsiness might be liable if a collision occurs.

Older drivers may stick with high-mileage vehicles. Failing to properly maintain an older car might lead to an accident.

Although the statistics on seniors involved in motor vehicle accidents (MVA) may not be cause for concern, there are other considerations. Older drivers might not be at an increased risk for an accident, but they could be held liable for negligently causing one.