Seniors at Higher Risk of Indiana Car Accident

February 14, 2012

A number of storefronts have sustained damage, due to car accidents in Lafayette.

According to the Chicago Tribune, a number of those crashes involved drivers who were over the age of 65.

Thankfully, it doesn't appear any of those involved suffered any serious injury as a result of these crashes.

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Our Indiana car accident attorneys know that as the elderly population continues to grow, the number of seniors behind the wheel increase as well. Not only that, but these older residents are holding on to their drivers' licenses longer than ever before.

According to the AAA Foundation, nearly 95 percent of people between the ages of 65 to 69 have a driver's license, and nearly 80 percent of those 70 and older had a license. Compare that to statistics from 1983, when the percentages were 80 percent and 55 percent, respectively.

The number of older drivers is increasing at a much faster pace than ever before. The AAA Foundation further reports that the number of young drivers (under the age of 40) decreased by 10 percent during that same time frame.

In Indiana, older drivers don't face as many driving restrictions as you might think.
Drivers between the ages of 75 and 85 have to renew their licenses once every three years, compared to younger drivers who have to renew every six years. If you're over the age of 85, you have to renew every two years.

Officials with the state's Bureau of Motor Vehicles told reporters that the only thing that might prevent an older driver from renewing their license would be if they can't pass the vision tests. Even if they do fail it, they can wait two weeks and take the test again. If they fail it a third time, they can get a six-month learner's permit before retaking it yet again.

While no one wants to take away a person's ability to be self-sufficient, that independence should not come at the cost of everyone else's safety.

In what we think is a fair compromise, some organizations - including the AAA Foundation - are offering classes for aging drivers. The incentive for older drivers, in addition to decreasing their chances of an accident, is a break on their insurance, which tends to go up after a certain age.

Many older drivers do take certain safety precautions on their own, often avoiding driving at night, on the highway and during rush hour. They also are less likely to drink and drive and wear their seat belts, more often than younger drivers.

However, recent research has shown that older drivers, while they may have fewer actual crashes per person, have more crashes per miles driven. They may be generally safer on the road than younger drivers, who are more apt to take dangerous risks.
The risks they do pose are serious, though, and need to be addressed.

It's a difficult conversation to have with an older loved one. The Hartford insurance company offers some excellent advice on how to open the conversation. This is particularly important if you have noticed that your loved one has been experiencing health changes, car accidents or near misses.

Some suggested conversation openers:

-- "I'm glad you've cut down on driving at night. I wouldn't ever want you to drive if it makes you uncomfortable."

--"Have you talked to your doctor about how your medication might be affecting your driving?"

--"Yesterday was a close call. I've been worried about your safety when you're on the road."

--"I've been worried about you getting lost."

If you, a loved one of a member or you family has been injured or killed in a car accident in Indiana, call Burton Padove for a free consultation to learn about how to ensure receipt for financial compensation for injuries you or your family members sustain at 219-836-2200 or 877-446-5294 for nationwide callers.


Additional Resources:

Crashes put spotlight on Indiana driver licensing, Associated Press, Chicago Tribune

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