When should elderly drivers hang up the keys?

The Santa Monica car accident injury lawyers at Steinberg understand that it can be tough to have a conversation with a parent or grandparent about giving up the car keys.

But according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the fatality rate for drivers 85 and over is nine times higher than the rate for drivers aged 25 to 69.

There are many reasons why elderly drivers are at higher risk for causing a California car accident, and nearly all of them are age-related. Let's take a look at some of the most common causes of car accidents involving the elderly:

  • Poor eyesight: As the body ages, eyesight deteriorates, and even with prescription eyeglasses, it can be hard for older drivers to see traffic signs and signals. This failure to recognize important traffic signs can cause elderly drivers to run red lights, drive too fast or too slow, or fail to spot children in school zones. 
  • Slow reaction time: Their inability to react in the same way as they did in their younger years means that elderly drivers cannot handle other drivers unexpectedly pulling out in front of them or children darting into the road. 
  • Arthritis: This painful condition that is common for most elderly people can make it hard to grip the steering wheel. 
  • Aging mind: It is not uncommon for elderly people to have bouts of confusion, which can lead to uncertainty and poor decision making while behind the wheel.
  • Joint pain: Stiff ankles and knees can make it hard for an elderly driver to push the gas or the brake, and mistakes doing either can cause a serious accident. 

Seniors Agree to Tougher Licensing Laws for All Drivers (Including Themselves)

Perhaps the most surprising outcome of this study was that senior drivers supported tougher driving laws across the board, even if it meant it could be harder for them to keep their own licenses. In addition to supporting bans on wireless devices and ignition interlocks for first time DUI offenders, over 70% of seniors supported measures requiring in-person renewals (including mandatory medical screenings) for drivers over age 75.

If you were struck by an elderly driver, you should have the incident investigated as soon as possible to find out if a medical condition played a role in the crash. Click the link on this page to order our free guide, 7 BIGGEST MISTAKES That Can Ruin Your California Injury Case, or call us today to have us begin gathering evidence on your behalf.