The National Safety Council reports that Older Driver Safety Awareness Week runs from December 6-10 and is encouraging families to speak with older loved ones about the importance of safe driving in reducing the risk of Chicago car accidents.
Our Chicago personal injury lawyers encourage families to make discussing the issue a part of their holiday plans with friends and family. The subject of safe driving among older adults is a critical safety issue that will grow exponentially in the coming years with the retirement of the baby boomers.
The number of drivers over the age of 65 is expected to grow 70 percent over the next 20 years, a growth rate that will eclipse all age groups except teenagers. It’s a sobering statistic that could result in the deaths of up to 100,000 older motorists over the next two decades.
Older Driver Safety Awareness Weeks is being sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association as a chance for the children and loved ones to discuss the issue with older drivers. For many, it can be a difficult conversation to start; a recent survey found children would rather talk to parents about funeral plans than about taking away the car keys.
The USA Today recently reported that most older adults will outlive their driving abilities, men by about six years and women by an average of 10 years. Fatality rates begin to increase at about age 75 and drivers over the age of 85 have a worse safety record than teenagers, who are typically considered to be the most dangerous drivers on the road.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reports that the number of licensed older drivers has increased 19 percent to 31 million in the last decade. More than 183,000 older drivers were involved in car accidents in 2008. More than two-thirds of those accidents happened during daylight hours and during the week.
Illinois car accidents claimed the lives of 163 older drivers, including 92 who were over the age of 75 and 30 who were over the age of 85.
The NSC provides the following tips for speaking to an older loved one:
-Take rides with an older driver and observe with an open mind.
-Notice any reluctance to drive on the part of an older driver.
-Watch for slowed reaction times.
-Pay attention to an older driver’s awareness of surroundings.
-Check the vehicle for signs of damage (when the older driver is not present).
-Check with an older driver’s friends and neighbors for observations.
If you or a loved one has been injured in an accident, the Illinois personal injury attorneys and wrongful death lawyers at Abels & Annes offer free and confidential appointments to discuss your rights. Call (866) 99-ABELS.