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Elderly Drivers and Car Accidents in Weston and Elsewhere Less Likely?

Just this last week, a 100-year-old Florida man reportedly drove his vehicle into the path of an oncoming motorcycle, landing both men in the hospital. In the same area just 20 minutes later, an 80-year-old woman crashed her vehicle into a Chinese restaurant, demolishing the building and injuring two people. She said she mistook the gas pedal for the brake pedal, according to The Tampa Tribune.

It’s accidents like these that undoubtedly reinforce the perception that many have about elderly motorists and their risks for car accidents in Weston and elsewhere. Comparative data, though, shows these kinds of accidents in a completely different light.

Our Weston injury attorneys understand that drivers who are 80-years-old and older had an accident rate of 90 per 10,000 drivers in 2010. When you compare this to the accident rate for drivers aged 15- to 24-years-old, at nearly 350 accidents per 10,000 drivers, it doesn’t seem that bad. But it’s still a very real threat. With age, our senses deteriorate and were less able to navigate our roadways safely. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. It’s just a part of life. It’s important that we recognize this deterioration and address it early!

It’s a fact, elderly drivers drive less than teenage drivers, which can ultimately have an effect on the accident data. What none of us can argue is that the post-retirement population of drivers in the state of Florida is growing rapidly. More and more of these elderly residents are driving along our roadways. As a matter of fact, the number of Florida residents 71-years-old and older with a driver’s license jumped by almost 100,000 in the last five years. We’ve now got nearly 2 million of these drivers in our state. The number of drivers 90-years-old and older has also jumped nearly 30 percent since 2007. According to the Florida Highway Patrol (FHP), there are nearly 500 licensed drivers in the state of Florida that are 100-years-old or older.

Florida does not require these elderly drivers to undergo thorough screenings to test their driving abilities. Actually, requirements don’t change much with age. The only difference can really be seen in the vision test, requiring drivers over the age of 79 to take one. Also, drivers under the age of 79 can hold their license for eight years before renewal. Drivers over the age of 80 can only have a license for six years before a renewal is required.

Regardless of the statistics and the testing, families are urged to keep an eye on the elderly loved ones in their family to make sure that they’re staying safe behind the wheel. When an elderly driver’s abilities start to fail, it’s important to speak up. Your concern and intervention can help to keep them out of a potentially fatal accident.

If you or an elderly member of your family has been injured or killed in a car accident in Weston, Fort Lauderdale or elsewhere in the area, the Fort Lauderdale personal injury lawyers at Freeman & Mallard are here to help you understand your rights and are ready to fight for the compensation that you deserve. Call today to set up a free and confidential discuss of your case, 1-800-561-7777.

Additional Resources:

Older drivers are safer, data show, by Ted Jackovics, The Tampa Tribune

More Blog Entries:

Heightened Risks for Car Accidents in Fort Lauderdale Warrant Local Traffic Stop, Fort Lauderdale Car Accident Attorney Blog, March 14, 2012

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