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Collisions Caused By Senior Drivers

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Elderly Driver Accident Lawsuits & Settlements 

elderly senior citizen driver accident

Davis Law Group frequently handles car accident claims that involve senior citizens. With almost equal regularity our attorneys have represented people who have been injured in an accident that was caused by an elderly driver andfaultless senior citizen accident victims who were seriously injured in a collisions.

This is why we carefully evaluate all of our cases on an individual basis  We will battle for your compensation and ensure the older victim will receive care. We will vigorously fight just as hard to make sure that the victim of an elderly driver-caused accident is fairly compensated for their injuries. 

If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident our legal staff is here to help you better understand your legal rights so you can start your journey to justice.  Call Davis Law Group at 206-727-4000 or use the contact form on this page to schedule a free consultation.

News: Attorney Chris Davis Discusses Senior-Citizen-Caused Accidents

As a well-known personal injury lawyer with experience in handling accidents caused by senior citizens, attorney Chris Davis' has been asked by local media to discuss legal issues related to elderly drivers.  Several of the senior-citizen-caused accidents that the firm has handled involve pedal confusion and/or unintended acceleration that results in a vehicle-into-building crash.  

Older Drivers Pedal Confusion / Unintended Acceleration

Elderly drivers are more likely to be found at-fault when involved in car crashes.  Senior citizens are more likely than younger drivers to experience unintended acceleration due to gas/brake pedal confusion.  These errors can be caused by either congnativeor physical issues.  

Cognative Pedal Confusuion

Some research has linked pedal misapplication to senior citizen cognitive impairment.

One study tested 180 people ages 65 to 89 in a simulator and found that one-third stepped on the gas pedal by mistake. Most complained that they couldn’t slow the car. Of those who used the wrong pedal in the 2007 study at East Virginia Medical School, more than half suffered from cognitive impairment.

Physical Pedal Confusion

In order to properly engage the brake, a driver must lift a foot higher than to use the gas pedal. When a senior is unable to raise the right foot high enough, the gas is hit by mistake.

Washington State Senior Citizen-Involved Accident Data

The following data represents serious injury and fatality accidents in Washington State caused by a driver that is 65 years of age or older.

2016
Fatal Injury / Death - 113
Serious Injury - 268

2015
Fatal Injury / Death - 105
Serious Injury - 270

Source: Washington State Department of Transportation

Senior Citizen Motor Vehicle Accident Statistics

Involvement in fatal crashes per mile travelled begins to increase in the 70-74 year old age group. It peaks in the age group of drivers who are 85 and older. Older drivers are more likely to die in crashes that younger drivers might survive, since they are more prone to severe muscle and bone injuries as well as medical complications such as infections.

In addition to age-related declines in vision, older drivers are more likely to suffer from decreased cognitive function that impairs their ability to drive safely. 75% of senior drivers report using at least one medication regularly, but only 1/3 of those drivers were aware of potential side effects such as drowsiness or decreased judgement.

  • A Carnegie Mellon University study in 2011 found that the fatality rate for drivers over 85 (the highest risk category) is four times higher than the fatality rate for teenager drivers.
  • In 2015, there were over 40 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States. This is a 50% increase from data collected in 1999.
  • In 2014, over 5,700 elderly drivers were killed in motor vehicle crashes. An estimated 236,000 elderly drivers sustained injuries severe enough to require emergency room treatment due to motor vehicle crashes.
  • In 2015, elderly drivers were responsible for 18% of traffic fatalities in the United States. They accounted for 8% of fatal crashes involving a driver with a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08% or higher.
  • In a 2009 study, researchers found that in fatal crashes involving elderly drivers, 12% of the victims were passengers in the elderly driver’s vehicle and 28% were other drivers, pedestrians, or bicyclists.

How Old Is Too Old To Drive?

The question “how old is too old to drive?" is controversial, but drivers over 65 have more accidents per mile than any group except teenage drivers. Driving skills can decay with age. Which indicates that driving skills may start to decline for some people who are classified as senior citizens.  While many elderly limit their driving, adult children often play a role in monitoring their parents and helping them determine when it may be time to stop driving. 

Determining the right age to stop driving is a challenging, taxing decision-- individual skills and abilities vary so widely no matter what their age. The Washington State Department of Licensing encourages people over the age of 55 to consider taking a collision prevention course in order to learn about age-related physical changes that can effect driving and to get a general reminder of the rules of the road. After completing a collision prevention course participants are issued a certificate. Many senior citizens are unaware of the fact that some insurance companies offer a discount for older drivers who have completed such courses and can present a certificate of completion.

References

  • "Age and Driving: Safety Tips and Warning Signs for Older Drivers." HelpGuide.org. HelpGuide.org, n.d. Web.
  • Davis, Robert, and Anthony DeBarros. "Older, Dangerous Drivers a Growing Problem." USA Today. Gannett Satellite Information Network, 02 May 2007. Web.
  • "Motor Vehicle Safety." Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 07 Apr. 2017. Web.
  • "Older Drivers And Motor Vehicle Accidents." Highway Loss Data Institute. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), n.d. Web. >
  • "Older Drivers." Highway Loss Data Institute. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, n.d. Web.
  • "Older Drivers." National Institutes of Health. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, n.d. Web.
  • "Senior Citizen Driving Facts & Research." AAA Senior Driving. American Automobile Association (AAA), n.d. Web.

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