In 2010, 13 percent of the U.S. population was 65 or older. Declining birth rates and the aging of the baby boomers, however, mean that a major demographic shift is coming. By 2030, more than 20 percent of the population in the United States is going to be 65 and up. The increase in the percentage of the senior population is a concern to road safety experts, as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has reported a higher rate of collisions among drivers aged 70 and up compared with drivers who are middle-aged.
Seniors who cause motor vehicle accidents must be held accountable just as younger drivers are. If an elderly motorist makes an unsafe or careless mistake or violates the rules of the road, collision victims should speak with a car accident lawyer in Atlanta about their options for holding the senior driver accountable for crash damages. Before it gets to the point where a senior causes an accident, however, it is beneficial for the senior and his or her family members to make an informed choice about when a senior is no longer safe to drive.
When Do Seniors Present an Unacceptable Atlanta Crash Risk?
Determining when a senior presents an unacceptable risk behind the wheel can be difficult. Boston.com reports that it is very important a senior not stop driving too soon. The AAA Foundation has conducted a study determining the impact of driving cessation on health outcomes for seniors. The study found there is a strong correlation between the loss of driving privileges and deteriorating mental and physical health.
Seniors who are no longer able to drive show higher rates of depression than people of the same age who still are able to get behind the wheel. Former drivers also participate less frequently in outdoor activities, have lower productivity rates, experience a major drop in social activity, and have a reduction in cognitive abilities compared with people in the same age group who still operate vehicles. Admission to a long-term care facility is also much more likely once a senior has stopped driving, with seniors who no longer operate a vehicle as much as five-times more likely to be admitted to a long-term care facility.
The AAA study does not prove that the decision to stop driving is the cause of the decline in seniors. However, it does suggest there is a strong correlation between giving up driving and adverse health effects. If this correlation is seen in other studies, it could suggest seniors should try to maintain the ability to drive as long as possible.
At the same time, the health of one senior does not take precedence over every other motorist on the road. When a senior has physical or mental issues affecting the ability to operate a car safely, the senior, his family members, or his doctor should insist that the elderly individual no longer continue to operate a car.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent you after an injury caused by a senior driver. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.