September 2011 – Florida Today reports that as the first wave of the nation’s 76 million baby boomers turn 65 this year growing questions about elderly drivers are being raised. What age is the right age to hang up the keys? And should the State of Florida play a bigger role in making that assessment? Statistics show that in Florida the age group still most likely to be involved in an automobile accident are the group between 15 – 19, accounting for about 364 crashes per 10,000 licensed drivers. The numbers for seniors are much lower, about 95 crashes for every 10,000 drivers 70 and older. But are we looking at a possible shift in numbers as the popluation of older drivers increases?
AARP cautions that although many seniors still sport around town, with the same level of driving skills that they possessed when they first hit the road, age-related changes—reaction times, medical conditions affecting the heart, eyes, muscles, and brain, and the medicines used to treat those symptoms—can affect fitness to drive. There are ways to keep loved ones safe on the road and warning signs to look for when deciding if the time has come to take the keys away.
Here are some warning signs that may indicate a problem. Does your loved one appear to be any of the following?
- Uncomfortable, nervous, or fearful
- Having difficulty staying in the travel lane
- Misjudging gaps in traffic at intersections and on highway entrance and exit ramps
- Not seeing the sides of the road when looking straight ahead
- Having a hard time turning around to check over the shoulder while backing up or changing lanes
- Getting honked at by other drivers
- Having trouble paying attention to traffic signals, road signs, and pavement markings
Is it the doctor’s responsibility to determine when their patient is too old to drive? Currently, there are only six states that currently have mandatory reporting requirements for medical professionals – California, Delaware, New Jersey, Nevada, Oregon and Pennsylvania. The A.M.A. recently updated their Physician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers to assist physicians struggling with the issue of competing legal and ethical duties.
The Cochran Firm South Florida can provide you with all the answers you need after an accident. To talk to a skilled Miami car accident lawyer, please contact us right away at 1-800-The-Firm.