The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says more than 36 million senior citizens are licensed to drive, many of them in Florida. There is no getting away from the fact that certain aspects of aging make driving a personal injury threat. Recognizing that it is time to give up driving is never easy because no one wants to become dependent on others to drive them where they need to be.
There is nothing that indicates that all aged drivers are at risk of being involved in crashes, but some factors increase the probability. A significant percentage of drivers older than 70 years have arthritis, which affects movement in the hands, arms, neck and other joints. Checking blind spots and maneuvering the steering wheel can be painful, especially in accident situations when quick movements are required.
Medications are also part of the lives of many senior drivers, and certain drugs — or combinations of medications — can compromise their alertness. Drowsiness and disorientation are the side effects of many medications. Other age-related conditions that could lead to harm to themselves or others include hearing loss, poor eyesight and declining cognitive abilities.
Florida families may do well to keep an eye on elderly parents and try to do what they can to make giving up driving easier. They might be able to avoid situations in which their loved ones have to face personal injury lawsuits filed by victims of car accidents caused by elderly drivers. However, anyone who is injured as the result of another driver’s negligence — regardless of that person’s age — may pursue financial relief. An experienced personal injury attorney can assist with the navigation of a civil lawsuit to seek recovery of economic and noneconomic damages.