It’s wonderful for Tennessee seniors to have their independence, thanks to their cars – until it isn’t.
According to AAA, senior citizens have good driving habits. They wear their seat belts, don’t drink and drive and stay under the speed limit. They stay off the road after dark whenever possible, avoid rush hour and stay home in bad weather.
At some point, however, seniors will reach the point that it’s time to pass the car on to the grandkids. They are more likely to be injured or killed in accidents – and to put other drivers at risk – because of age-related conditions or illnesses. Seniors are second only to teen drivers when it comes to having the highest rate of dying in a crash.
AAA reports that seniors live seven to 10 years longer than they should be driving. The organization also shared these facts about senior drivers:
- Among people in their 70s, 80 percent have arthritis. That condition affects their joints, and some driving maneuvers – such as turning – can cause pain.
- A reduced range of motion and weaker muscles make it difficult for seniors to perform some basic driving moves, such as pressing the accelerator, holding the steering wheel or reaching for the door.
- More than three-fourths of drivers 65 or older say they take at least one medication, but fewer than 33 percent of them know how the medicine could affect their ability to drive.
- By 2030, there will be about 70 million people over 65, and as many as 90 percent of them could have a driver’s license.
- Looking back to 2009, 28 percent of the people killed in an accident with a senior citizen were occupants of other cars, pedestrians or bicyclists.
It’s a tough conversation to have, but children of parents over age 65 should talk to them about how much longer they think should drive – and keep an eye on their parents’ driving skills.
If you’re involved in an accident with a senior driver and have been injured, you are entitled to have your medical bill and lost wages – at a minimum – repaid. A Tennessee attorney who has worked with cases involving motor vehicle accidents should be consulted before you accept an insurance company’s offer to settle the case.