In 2015, there were over 40 million drivers on the road aged 65 or over. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), over 6,800 older drivers were killed and 260,000 were treated in the emergency department for injuries sustained in a car accident. Florida has the highest population of people over 65, and not surprisingly the highest number of traffic fatalities involving people over 65. Involvement in fatal crashes increases in drivers aged 70-74 and is highest in drivers that are aged 85 and older. Driving helps older adults stay mobile and independent, but it can also put them and others at risk for serious injury.
Increased Risk of Accidents with Age
While older drivers are more likely to use their seatbelts and less likely to speed or drive while impaired, there are some physical realities that come with age that can have a detrimental effect on one’s ability to drive. Reasons for the increased risk of accidents include:
- Vision issues such as cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration, and diabetes-related complications
- Delayed response time
- Mobility issues such as muscle weakness and arthritis
- Hearing issues
- Reduced cognitive functioning
- Side effects of certain medications
While not all older drivers are incapable of driving safely, those who are truly unable to drive may cause unnecessary danger to those with whom they share the road. We hope that older drivers would be willing to stop driving once they have trouble doing so. But giving up the freedom that comes with driving can be difficult.
Florida License Restrictions for Older Drivers
Florida doesn’t require retesting of older drivers but does require a vision test for drivers aged 80 and over. In addition, a driver reexamination may be administered by the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) at the request of family members or others. Doctors, family members, or other individuals can request an unsafe driver investigation if they are concerned that a medical condition is affecting someone’s ability to drive. DHSMV can place restrictions on someone’s driver’s license after a retest. For example, a driver may no longer be permitted to drive at night.
Contact a Trusted Attorney
If you have been injured in a car accident with an older driver, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney. Contact the trusted lawyers at Abrahamson & Uiterwyk online or call us at 1-800-753-5203 to schedule your free consultation.