Drivers in California often associate elderly drivers with an increased risk of motor vehicle accidents, but this idea turns out to be more complicated with statistical analysis. According to the numbers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 36 million Americans at or over the age of 65 were licensed to drive in 2012. Of those, about 5,560 were killed and 214,000 injured in accidents. The rate of injury and death increases starting at age 70 and goes up dramatically for those 85 and older.
However, the increased risk of fatal accidents has less to do with the safety of elderly drivers than with their physical health. This can be seen with the tendency of elderly drivers to use more safety precautions, such as wearing seat belts, avoiding the road during unsafe conditions and reduced incidence of drunk driving.
The CDC provides a number of recommendations for older drivers to reduce motor vehicle accidents and the resulting damages. Routine eye exams, planning trips during the day and maintaining greater distance between vehicles on the road can all prevent a car collision for drivers of any age group. Exercises to increase muscle tone and joint flexibility are reportedly helpful for reducing severity and complications of injuries.
Older drivers are often at greater risk of suffering serious injuries during motor vehicle accidents, but this does not absolve a negligent driver from liability for damages. Victims of an accident caused by a distracted or careless driver may be able to seek compensation with the assistance of a personal injury attorney regardless of whether the driver has received any criminal charges in connection with the incident.