Legal Blog

Older Driver Safety

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Author

Attorney David I. Fuchs

Date

Jan. 26, 2014

Category

Car Accident Law

At 18 percent of the state’s population, Florida leads the country in residents age 65 or older, and this percentage is steadily increasing. Over the next 15 to 20 years, according to data from the United States Census, nearly 30 percent of the state’s population will be over the age of 64, with many of that group over the age of 75. With the increase in older Floridians comes an increase in older licensed drivers, injury attorneys in Fort Lauderdale say, making it imperative that drivers, especially those over 60, stay safe on the roads. 

According to statistics from January 2011, residents between the ages of 50 and 64 account for more than 24 percent of the state’s drivers, and residents older than 65 account for 18.6 percent of licensed drivers. These percentages are expected to grow as older people continue to retire to Florida, and medical advances make it possible for longer living. Today, older drivers are keeping their licenses longer, and driving more miles, and can expect to live longer than they can safely drive by anywhere from 7 to 10 years. The safety on Florida’s roads becomes a concern when older people continue to drive with impairments such as hearing loss, weakened eyesight, lack of mobility, and wandering attention. 

Statistics for crash fatalities involving older drivers have decreased significantly in Florida over the past few years, but the state is still well behind the rest of the country, most likely due to its larger population. In recent years, in more than half of the crash injuries in the state, a driver over the age of 50 was involved. Research from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s Fatality Facts shows that, from 2007 to 2009, the motor vehicle crash death rate for adults over the age of 64 went down across the country, and was lower than Florida’s rate of death in each year. 

Although many older people are safe, responsible drivers, aging can have an adverse affect on driving ability. With this in mind, the Florida Department of Transportation, along with the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy at FSU recently established the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition. The Coalition is aimed at improving the lives and quality of driving for older drivers, using crash and driving related data, and survey responses from drivers over 64 to develop the Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan. 

From the survey responses, it is apparent that many older drivers did not plan for an alternative to driving. The Coalition, and Florida’s lawmakers and government officials, are working to develop transportation retirement plans that will help older people get around town, and continue to hold on to their independence as long as possible. Currently, all drivers age 80 and older are required to pass a vision test before renewing their license. Florida also hosted an Older Driver Safety Awareness Week in December, which encouraged older drivers to evaluate themselves and make sure that they are still able to drive safely. 

At David I. Fuchs, Injury & Accident Lawyer, P.A., our injury attorneys encourage all older Florida drivers to stay safe on the roads, and be aware of their motor skills and driving abilities as they age. If you have been injured in a car accident, contact David Fuchs, a personal injury attorney, for a consultation.