When does the time come for elderly Florida car owners to stop driving?

At the store’s cash register, Brian was making change for a customer when he heard an explosion. Looking towards the store entrance where the noise originated, he saw the glass pane shatter and fall with a car rushing towards him. Knocking the cash register over, the car ended up against a concrete pillar. The driver, aged 84, later had her driving privileges revoked by the State of Florida for medical reasons.

Most analysts of traffic safety agree that crashes like this one illustrate the expanding problem of the aging population boom: more elderly drivers every year cling to their driving privileges and the autonomy that cars provide, not wanting to recognize that their diminished abilities lead to accidents.

How big is the problem of elderly drivers?

The U.S. Census Bureau predicts that there will be 9.6 million people aged 85 and over by 2030, up 73 percent from today’s population. When it comes to driving safety, “elderly” driver does not mean 60- or 65-year-olds. In fact, according to a recent Carnegie Mellon study, fatality rates for drivers — very high for young beginners — fall steadily to reach the minimum at age 60. They then start climbing again at 65 and skyrocket all the way to 85, where the rates are four times as high as for 16- to 18-year-olds. This major problem will get a lot worse in the coming years.

What should we do to prevent skyrocketing elderly accident statistics in Florida?

Scientific studies have shown that the only efficient way to reduce accidents involving the elderly is to require older drivers to renew their licenses at the DMV in person. Requiring them to pass road tests is of course an even better way to screen elderly drivers, but only two states (Illinois and New Hampshire) do this. In Florida, the vision test results in the loss of license for seven percent of drivers aged 80 or more. The test also acts as a deterrent for some 20 percent of the elderly population who decide not to renew their licenses for fear of failure.

Aging affects driving in many ways. Diminishing reflexes, flexibility, focus, visual acuity, and hearing acuity - aging makes some traffic situations particularly challenging - complex freeway interchanges, driving at night and in bad weather, intersections, etc.

Many elderly drivers self-regulate and limit themselves to what they can handle: driving on familiar roads, avoiding peak hours or night driving, and reducing speed. But giving up driving altogether is a difficult decision to make for drivers who want and need to be able to shop and meet other people.

In North and Central East Florida, the Daytona Beach Car Accident Lawyers at Johnson & Gilbert PA are the compassionate and reliable legal support you need if you or a loved one has been involved in a serious car, motorcycle, or truck accident caused by someone else.

Call us today toll free at (800) 556-8890 and locally at (386) 673-4412, or fill out the form on this page for a free consultation.