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Car Accidents Involving Senior Citizen Drivers: Should Older People Be Allowed To Drive?

Updated on: 1/18/2019

On September 21, 2011 KOMO Newsradio personality Ken Schram called on Seattle personal injury attorney Chris Davis to try to answer the question "At what point should senior citizens stop driving?"  Listen to the interview here. Click below.

Senior Citizen / Elderly Driver Statistics

The Federal Highway Administration states that in 2007 there were more than 20 million licensed drivers 70 and older in the United States. Statistics also show that the total annual miles older drivers traveled climbed 29 percent from 1995 to 2001.

Senior Driver Impairment Concerns

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration aging affects elderly drivers in a number of ways: "Safe elderly drivers require the complex coordination of many different skills. The physical and mental changes that accompany aging can diminish the abilities of elderly drivers. These include: a slowdown in response time; a loss of clarity in vision and hearing; a loss of muscle strength and flexibility; drowsiness due to medications; and a reduction in the ability to focus or concentrate."

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) states that specific physical, cognitive and visual abilities may decline as people age, but adds that age alone is not sufficient information to judge driving ability.

Senior Citizen Drivers in Washington State

• In Washington, all drivers must renew their license every 5 years, including elderly drivers.
• Drivers at age 65 or older, can only renew their license in person and must take a vision test. A written and/or road test will be given if warranted by a vision, health or medical screening.
• Older drivers do not have any driving restrictions in Washington State.

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