There is a typical reaction when a driver makes an unsafe move in congested traffic, and the occupants of the other vehicle that witnessed that error see that the poor maneuver was made by an older driver— “Well, of course, they’re 90 years old!” This reaction plays on the stereotype that older drivers are unsafe, and do not belong on the road. This reaction is also heavily flawed and is created by unfair bias that older drivers are somehow less capable than their younger counterparts.
Older Drivers Get Injured and Die at Higher Rates
Statistically, older drivers are safer in the following ways that young drivers and even middle age drivers:
- They drive more slowly;
- They do not tailgate;
- They do not run red lights or drive aggressively;
- They do not drive when weather conditions are poor;
- They do not drive at night when visibility is bad; and
- They do not drive during rush hour traffic when congestion is at its highest.
However, involvement in fatal crashes per mile drove begins to increase at the age of 70, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Why does this happen if older drivers are so much more cautious? The main reason is that older drivers are more susceptible to serious injuries and death due to frailty. What may only be a broken collarbone for a 45-year-old driver could very well be life-ending for a 78-year-old driver. The chances of being in a fatal collision, per mile drove, is highest for drivers 85 and older. Other risk factors that can increase the crash rate per mile driven for senior citizen drivers include poor eyesight, delayed reaction time, dementia, and inability to check over their shoulder for blind spots.
The Most Dangerous Age Group of Drivers
Teenage drivers pose the most threat to themselves and others on the road. Teenage drivers 16 to 19 years old are more than three times likely to die in traffic collisions that drivers over 20 years old, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). And, the fatal crash rate for 16- to 17-year-old drivers is twice that for 18- to 19-year-old drivers. This shows that the driver experience goes a long way in making a safe driver. Younger drivers, particularly male drivers, are more prone to speeding, drinking and driving, and making unwise and downright reckless decisions behind the steering wheel of a car. Senior citizen drivers tend to make more cautious decisions, do not drive while intoxicated, and place their sole focus on the road ahead of them, as opposed to texting or talking to passengers.
Failure to Yield at Intersections
While older drivers are actually statistically safer than younger adult drivers and teenagers, studies have shown that when it comes to intersections controlled by stop signs or yield signs instead of traffic signals, older drivers have a higher crash rate when making left turns, according to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration.
Call a Car Crash Attorney Today
If you are an older driver who is being denied compensation for a crash that you did not occur, or if you are a victim of any age that has been involved in a collision, you need to work with an attorney. Call the Kansas City car attorneys at the Krause & Kinsman Law Firm today for legal representation that you can depend on.
Adam Krause is a personal injury, mass tort, business litigation, and employment discrimination attorney who practices in Kansas City, Missouri. He graduated from the University of Missouri Kansas City School of Law and has been practicing law for several years now. Adam Krause has made a career of taking complicated litigation and presenting it in the most elementary terms for a jury of your peers to understand. Learn more about his experience here.