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Older adult drivers face increasing risks on the road

| Feb 21, 2016 | Fatal Motor Vehicle Accidents |

It’s important for seniors to remain independent for as long as possible, which typically entails having access to reliable transportation. However, driving risks can actually increase as one grows older, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Older drivers in New Jersey and beyond must be aware of these risks, as well as those safe driving tips that can prevent accidents.

Statistics show that fatal crashes involving aging drivers most often occur to those aged 85 and older, although increases in fatalities begin to show in the 70 to 74-year-old range. In 2012 alone over 214,000 older drivers suffered from injuries related to motor vehicle accidents. Of these incidents, more than 5,560 aging adults succumbed to injuries sustained during crashes.

Increased fatality rates among drivers of advancing age include numerous causes. In some cases, existing medical issues make it more difficult for older drivers to recover from severe physical injuries. Physical changes related to aging also play a role, including cognitive difficulties brought on by dementia and declining vision. To this end, both seniors and their families must take every precaution to ensure safety behind the wheel remains a priority.

The National Institute on Aging recommends the following safe driving tips, such as undergoing vision checks every one to two years. For those experiencing issues with night vision, driving should be restricted to daytime hours. Hearing should also be checked at least once every three years, and those with hearing loss must be fitted with a suitable hearing aid. In general, older drivers should make adjustments to accommodate the ongoing effects of aging, which will serve to protect them and others when on the road.