On January 16, an elderly man was seriously injured when he crashed his vehicle into several homes in a small housing community south of Denver. According to the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office, the collision was ultimately caused by a medical condition that prompted the 86-year-old driver to lose control of his vehicle.
While not all elderly drivers face an increased risk of motor vehicle collisions, many suffer from pre-existing medical conditions or face a decline in motor skills and vision. These issues can create danger whenever they operate a car, especially during bad weather.
Elderly Driving Accident Statistics
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), approximately 20 elderly Americans are fatally injured in motor vehicle collisions every day. In 2017, more than 7,400 elderly drivers were killed in car accidents nationwide. In addition to those killed throughout 2017, over 282,000 elderly Americans were severely injured in car accidents.
If you have an elderly loved one who still wants to drive, make sure they are fit to do so. Seniors often do not want to give up their independence, but it can result in an elevated risk to themselves and others.
Listed below are a few steps seniors and families can take:
The vast majority of elderly Americans take some sort of medication as part of their everyday health care. It is important to understand some of these drugs can impact a person’s ability to drive, from certain antidepressants to decongestants and cough medicines. A family physician can answer all questions about the way in which certain medications could impact driving ability.
Get Vision Tested
One of the leading causes of elderly automobile collisions is limited vision. For drivers with vision problems, their ability to properly react to rapid stops of traffic or changes in direction can be severely impaired. By scheduling biannual vision testing for your elderly loved one, they receive a professional opinion regarding their vision capabilities. Scheduling these appointments could be the difference between life or death.
Willingness to Have Difficult Conversations
If you believe your elderly family member is no longer capable of operating a motor vehicle in a safe manner, it is time to speak with them about giving up their driving privileges. These conversations can be incredibly difficult, but they can ensure their safety and that of other drivers and pedestrians. For older Americans, driving is viewed as a key to independence, and in many cases, they are reluctant to give up their license. If you believe your elderly family member will have a hostile reaction to your suggestion, schedule an appointment with their doctor and ask them to assist you in this conversation.
Contact a Fort Collins Car Accident Lawyer
At Hoggatt Law Office, P.C., our team understands car accidents are caused by various reasons. We also understand how difficult recovering from injuries can be for the whole family. If you or a loved one are injured in an automobile collision due to someone else’s negligence, you deserve full financial compensation for the injuries suffered. To schedule a free consultation with a Larimer County personal injury attorney, call us today at 970-225-2190.