The population in Illinois is aging and soon, there will be the largest number of elderly Americans in the history of the country. With an aging population comes an aging driving population and with that, certain risks. Older drivers begin to experience a decrease in some of their mental and physical abilities that may affect their ability to drive. In addition, older drivers are more likely to be injured or killed in an accident when compared to younger drivers because aging makes older drivers more susceptible to injury.
In 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers age 65 and older in the United States. Of these drivers, approximately 500 are injured every day in an automobile collision. Older drivers may experience vision problems, decreases in hearing abilities, slower reaction time, confusion, anxiety, and other medical problems that may affect the ability to drive. In addition, older drivers tend to be on prescription medications, some of which can comprise driving skills.
What Can Older Adults Do To Avoid Accidents?
Despite some of the common negative beliefs about elderly drivers, statistics show that there are some areas where these drivers exercise safe driving more than the general population. Continued focus on safety and greater efforts to limit high-risk behaviors while driving will help to reduce auto accidents involving senior drivers.
Currently, the incident of seat belt use among elderly drivers is approximately 77 percent, which is substantially higher than the 63 percent seat belt use the Centers for Disease Control reports among adult drivers age 18 to 64. Additionally, older drives are less likely to operate a motor vehicle while impaired by alcohol and/or drugs, making them less likely to cause this type of collision than their younger counterparts. Only 5 percent of elderly drivers involved in fatal collisions were legally drunk at the time while 25 percent of younger drivers killed in accidents were legally under the influence and therefore in violation of state laws. Elderly drivers also tend to drive only in optimal conditions and therefore are less likely to be in crashes during a rain or snow storm, caused by ice, or even during the dark night hours.
Experts also recommend that in addition to these positive behaviors, elderly drivers remember to take safety into their own hands and only driving when necessary. Older drivers should ask their pharmacists to make sure no medications will limit their ability to drive safely and they should also have their eyes checked regularly for changes in vision as well as degenerative diseases.
It is also a good idea for elderly drivers to exercise and eat well if possible to prevent or limit injuries in the event of a crash. Studies have shown that older drivers who are healthier and in better shape before a collision occurs are less likely to suffer serious injuries than those in poor health, meaning that drivers who take care of themselves physically will be less likely to die in a crash.
What If An Elderly Driver Caused My Car Accident?
If an elderly driver causes an accident that results in injuries to you, Illinois law protects you by allowing you to make a claim for your damages against the at-fault driver and/or the driver’s insurance company. These claims can encompass medical bills, lost wages, and any other expenses you may have incurred as a result of the accident.
Insurance companies can be challenging to work with and some may even deny a valid claim in an effort to escape liability. Often this is because insurance companies have an unfair advantage when dealing with an individual accident victim who may be in need of compensation to pay bills and may be unaware of the true value of his or her injury. Once a claim is settled, generally there is no opportunity to receive additional payment in the future, meaning that it is crucial you have someone on your side and representing your interests in the process of a financial recovery.
The lawyers at Abels & Annes, P.C. have experience on their side. We have helped numerous accident victims recover against those that harmed them, including those who were hurt by elderly drivers. We know the law and we know how to get results.
We believe that every victim deserves a free case consultation to learn about what legal options are available and we offer that service to all victims who call us locally at (312) 924-7575 or toll free at (855) LAW-CHICAGO (529-2442). If you have been hurt, do not let yourself continue to be victimized by your accident. Call us today and let us help you towards a financial recovery.
If you have been hurt in an accident with an elderly driver, call us today at (855) LAW-CHICAGO or Contact Us online for a free consultation.