The population is getting older, and young people are getting their licenses later. Because of these two factors, the average age of people who drive is rising. Older drivers are safer, in some ways, than other motorists. However, there is a substantial risk that older drivers will continue to operate their vehicles past the point where it is safe for them to do so. Older drivers tend to experience physical and mental impairments at some point in the aging process that affect their abilities to be safe drivers. If they do not voluntarily stop on time, they could hurt themselves or others.
If an accident is caused by a senior driver, victims should consult with an Atlanta auto accident attorney to get help pursuing a claim for compensation. States have some laws aimed at preventing senior driving collisions, but unfortunately these restrictions may not be enough to address the realities of the aging population. The problem is, there are various factors in place that are making it harder for legislatures to make new rules for senior drivers, even though passing stricter regulations could be important to public safety and health.
Senior Driving Accident Risks in Atlanta
The Pew Charitable Trusts reported on the problems associated with the rising age of drivers. According to Pew data, there will be more than 60 million adults on the roads by 2030. While the majority of states impose certain special rules for seniors, including a mandate that a senior driver renew his license in person and take a vision test, some safety advocates argue that there should be more regulations passed to tighten the rules in order to adjust to the realities of an aging population.
While this may be sound public policy, there are forces that make it difficult for lawmakers to pass new regulations. Pew Charitable Trusts also listed many reasons why states are unlikely to pass new restrictions on seniors. Some of the issues include the following:
- Seniors, in some ways, are safer drivers. This is a good reason for not passing new rules. Seniors generally buckle up, don’t speed, and do not drink and drive. These factors make them low-risk, especially compared with other motorists like teen drivers.
- Seniors are a very politically powerful group. This is a bad reason for not imposing new regulations on senior drivers. Seniors have lobbying groups like the AARP, which will speak out on issues affecting the older population. AARP has argued that age shouldn’t be a key consideration in assessing whether or not an older person is fit to drive. AARP has also indicated that when age-specific restrictions are put into place, those restrictions are based on stereotypes and may not reflect the reality of older motorists. Not only is AARP powerful, but seniors are also known as reliable voters so lawmakers don’t want to get on their bad side.
- The meaning of “old” has changed. The executive director of the Governors Highway Safety Association indicated that changing conceptions of aging have also played a role in preventing lawmakers from changing rules on senior drivers. While 75 used to be considered old, for example, people are remaining active for longer and ideas about what a senior can do are changing.
If lawmakers do not pass new rules for seniors, older drivers will need to take on the responsibility themselves of knowing when they are not safe to drive. If an older person continues to drive once he shouldn’t, he can be held accountable for causing a collision.
The Atlanta car accident lawyers at Sammons & Carpenter, P.C. can represent victims after a collision. Call today at (404) 814-8949 or contact us online to schedule your free consultation.