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With more older adults on the roads, drivers need to watch out

While the statistics show that older drivers are the safest drivers on the road, many people in Pittsburgh are likely to be concerned that the number of drivers 65 and older is on the rise. In fact, since 2003, the number of older drivers has grown by 21 percent. There were an estimated 35 million drivers 65 and older on the roads in 2012, says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

One reason for concern is that the number of accidents is also going up. Though the figures from the Traffic Safety Administration reflect injuries and fatalities among older drivers, if there are increases in the number of elderly drivers injured or killed in car accidents, it is likely that the total number of accidents involving elderly drivers is also increasing. And, since it is unrealistic to assume that drivers are targeting elderly drivers, it may be safe to assume that elderly drivers are causing more accidents.

It may be hard to think of a sweet old lady or man causing anyone serious injury, but injuries have no bearing on who is behind the wheel in a car accident. Just as most people would do if the driver was a teenager texting while driving, anyone injured in a crash should hold an elderly driver responsible for causing an accident. The most common way of doing this is by filing a personal injury lawsuit.

Fortunately, the Traffic Safety Administration has taken note of the shifting driver demographics and is working on studying driver behavior. By looking at what some of the common issues are when elderly drivers go from safe motorists to at-risk drivers, the agency can hopefully protect more drivers from injury and death.

Source: USA Today, “Feds making new rules for senior drivers,” Matt Schmitz, Dec. 8, 2013

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