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Older drivers at higher risk for fatal car accidents

Many New Jersey readers already know that older drivers can be more prone to car accidents than younger drivers. Overall, fatalities for older drivers have dramatically decrease over the past ten years, especially as the roads have become safer overall and traffic fatality rates have gone down.

However, risk of accidents does increase overall as a driver ages, with drivers aged 85 and older at the highest risk of being involved in a fatal car accident. Still, state laws regulating older drivers range widely in their assessment of when it’s time to start being more cautious with licensing. In Maryland, drivers must take an eye exam starting at age 40 in order to renew their license. On the other extreme, drivers in Texas don’t face additional scrutiny until they are 85.

A researcher at MIT pointed out that age itself isn’t the cause of more car accidents – it’s the physical and mental limitations that often accompany age. These types of conditions affect people in a wide variety of ways and few healthcare professionals or state lawmakers agree on a particular age or even narrow age-range that should mark the end of driving.

As the population ages, these are important issues to consider. Estimates from the federal government indicate that by 2030, about 57 million drivers will be 65 or older, compared with 34 million today. The baby boom generation is also expected to continue driving and to drive more often than previous generations.

Our New Jersey law firm handles car accident injury cases. More information can be found on our website.

Source: Associated Press, “Older drivers face confusing array of license laws” Lauran Neergaard, Sept. 17, 2012

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