Do Seniors Cause More Car Accidents? | Studinski Law, LLC
March 2, 2021

Do Elderly Drivers Cause More Accidents?

From the perspective of overall traffic wrecks, elderly drivers are generally safer drivers, and are involved in fewer accidents than their younger counterparts. Elderly drivers are more likely to wear seatbelts, drive when conditions are safest, and avoid drinking and driving. However, according to a study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, drivers who are 70 years old and older have higher rates of fatal accidents per mile traveled compared with drivers who are middle-aged.

Teenage drivers continue to have the highest rate of accident involvement, and are three times more likely to crash than drivers over the age of 20. Although seniors are statistically safer drivers than teenagers behind the wheel, they still face a number of factors that can put the lives of others on the road in jeopardy.

If you’ve been hurt in a wreck that was caused by an elderly driver, it’s important to understand if that driver should have been behind the wheel in the first place. The accomplished car accident lawyers at Studinski Law, LLC have wide-ranging experience in these matters, and can help you seek the justice and compensation you deserve for your losses.

How Many Car Accidents Involve Elderly Drivers?

According to the latest data from the CDC, 7,700 adults aged 65 and older were killed in traffic crashes in 2018, and more than 250,000 were treated in emergency departments for accident-related injuries. This translates to almost 700 elderly adults being injured, and more than 20 being killed in crashes every day.

Nationally, the fatal crash involvement of drivers aged 70 and older has declined compared to previous years. This decline stems from several factors, including fewer miles driven on average in this age group. Per capita, older drivers have lower rates of police-reported crash involvements, as well as the lowest rates of liability and collision claims per insured vehicle.

Should 70 Year Olds Drive?

It is normal and inevitable to experience certain age-related issues that affect the ability to drive as years pass. Wisconsin does not have any laws that define what age is too old to drive, but it does require drivers age 60 and over to visit a DMV every eight years to renew their driver’s licenses.

Although age alone is not a reason to stop driving, there are certain conditions that can contribute to accidents involving elderly drivers, such as cognitive challenges and slower reflexes. Other age-related medical issues that can increase the risk of an accident include:

  • Declining vision
  • Arthritis and other conditions that hinder fine motor skills
  • Heart conditions
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinson’s disease
  • Diabetes

In Wisconsin, drivers must have 20/40 vision or at least 20/100 eye acuity with driving restrictions. Obtaining a senior driver’s optometry records and other medical information may be vital to building your personal injury claim. Additionally, your lawyer may request the elderly driver’s driving record and testimony from the driver’s friends and family when conducting an initial investigation into your case.

What Are the Signs of Decreased Driving Ability in Elderly Drivers

Elderly drivers can experience numerous challenges when operating motor vehicles that can make them susceptible to causing accidents. Eyesight and hearing wanes in later years, and aging bodies have slower reflex times. Joints start to stiffen, and medications can produce a number of adverse effects.

As drivers get older, they begin to exhibit signs that their ability to drive may be compromised. These signs can include things like:

  • Difficulty turning to look out a back window
  • Misjudging traffic speed
  • Difficulty with street light and headlight glare
  • Loss of night vision
  • Increasing number of “close calls” or fender-benders
  • Confusing the gas and the brake pedals
  • Seizures or blackouts
  • Medication-induced dizziness
  • Difficulty seeing road markings and street signs
  • Getting lost in familiar areas
  • Frequently running stop signs or traffic lights 
  • Frequently missing turns
  • Weaving
  • Increased amount of traffic tickets

Having a driver’s license allows seniors to maintain their independence, but when signs of decreased driving ability go ignored, the results can be devastating. If you’ve been hurt by an elderly driver, it’s important to understand if that driver should have been behind the wheel at all. An experienced car accident lawyer can investigate the facts in your case and determine who may be liable for your injuries.

Contact a Car Accident Lawyer in Wisconsin Today

Studinski Law, LLC has extensive experience in car accident cases, including those that involve elderly drivers. We have the knowledge, skill, and resources necessary to investigate your crash, gather evidence, and pursue the full and fair compensation you need. Whether at the negotiating table or the courtroom, our car accident lawyers are committed to helping you obtain the justice you deserve.

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If you have been hurt in a car wreck involving an elderly driver, please call (715) 343-2850 today for a free case review. Our car accident attorneys serve clients across all of Wisconsin, including Wisconsin Rapids, Stevens Point, Plover, Marshfield, and Wausau.

Jason Studinski Injury Attorney
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