For older adults, maintaining their driver’s license provides much needed independence. However, it is important for them and their family members to be aware of the potential dangers these drivers face. While seniors tend to be more cautious behind the wheel than other age groups, impairments that often go along with aging can put them and others on the road at risk for serious personal injuries. A recent fatal accident involving an 84-year-old driver and a bicyclist highlights the tragic consequences that can result.
84-Year-Old to Blame for Fatal Accident
A recent motor vehicle accident in Aiken, SC claimed the life of a bicyclist. The accident is being blamed on an senior woman’s failure to stop at an intersection. According to a May 3, 2019 news report by WRDW News 12, the accident occurred at 9:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, at the intersection Highway 25 and Sweetwater Road.
Witnesses state that a bicyclist was headed north toward the intersection and was stopped at a red light when a woman in an SUV drove up and struck him from behind. While the 84-year-old driver suffered only minor injuries, the bicyclist died at the scene. Police are still investigating the case, and no charges against the driver have been announced.
How Age Impacts Driving Abilities
While many older adults are safe and capable drivers, there is no escaping the impact age has on physical and cognitive abilities. According to the National Institute On Aging, conditions older drivers are more likely to suffer from that could make them a danger to themselves and others on the road include:
Diminished vision, which can impact depth and distance perception, particularly at night
Loss of hearing, which can make them immune to sounds of an impending crash, such as car horns or the screeching of brakes
Slower reaction times, which can make them less effective in responding to sudden changes in traffic conditions
Stiff, aching joints, which can make it harder to push the brakes or turn the steering wheel, especially in the event of an emergency
Cognitive declines, which can lead them to become more easily confused, causing them to make dangerous errors behind the wheel or to disregard traffic signs and signals
Just because someone is older does not mean they cannot be a good, safe driver. But it is still important for seniors and their family members to be aware of the risks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommends talking to older drivers about their driving ability. It may simply be a matter of avoiding night driving or limiting driving distances. In other situations, it may be more helpful for friends and family to offer rides as a safer and more practical option.
Contact Us Today for Help
When motor vehicle accidents impact you or your loved ones, the Surasky Law Firm, LLC provides the professional legal guidance you need. To discuss how we can help you get the compensation you are entitled to, contact our Aiken personal injury attorney to request a consultation today.