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Elderly Drivers and Their Heightened Risks for L.A. Car Accidents

December 31, 1969

Safe-driving advocates are starting to focus more on elderly drivers and the risks that they present when they're behind the wheel.

According to the Los Angeles Times, the state of California requires no additional road testing from a driver after they get their first driver's license. But any driver can be called in for a reexamination test if an officer asks for it or if the state's DMV gets a formal request from anyone who claims that a specific individual should be retested. Drivers in the state who are over the age of 70, and there are about 2 million of them, are required to pass a written test and a vision test every 5 years. Many safe driving advocates believe that these laws should be changed and should be more stringent.
Typically, elderly drivers are more prudent and take fewer risks behind the wheel than older driver. Only a small percentage of these drivers are involved in accidents every year, but there's also no arguing that people of this age become more vulnerable behind the wheel as they age. Their cognition, their reaction time, their alertness and their eyesight all diminish with time.

Our Los Angeles injury lawyers understand that the problem is only going to get worse. Pretty soon, there will be a whole lot more senior citizen drivers on our roadways. According to the Automobile Association of America, there will be about 70 million people who will be 65-years-old and older in the U.S. by 2030. Experts estimate that about 90 percent of these elderly residents will have a driver's license. The Automobile Association of America suggests that these residents starting planning out a driving "retirement" as they outlive their ability to maneuver a motor vehicle.

We understand that driving is a key to self-reliance and to independence. These are both qualities that elderly residents prize and feel can keep them vibrant. Unfortunately for them, it's also a regulated privilege. Many feel that the state of California should conduct additional tests on these elderly drivers. It was previously proposed that 75-years-old should be the age at which these driver must undergo additional driver's training and testing, but many are arguing that 75 is a little too late. It has also been proposed that driver's license renewal periods should be shortened as a driver ages.

Until any of this happens, it's important for us to keep a close watch on our elderly loved ones. Since many of them are not ready to admit that they've outlived their driving career, it's our duty to supervise to make sure that they're not endangering themselves or anyone else on the road.

When bringing up driving concerns with an elderly loved one, you want to make sure that you're respectful. Provide them with examples as to why their driving might be dangerous, for everyone. Find your strength in numbers and consider recruiting other loved ones for the big talk. Help them to find alternatives. Show them that life is not over simply because they're hanging up their keys. Lastly, we're asking you to be understanding. It's clear that this is a difficult transition. Don't dismiss their feelings but try to help with the transition as much as possible.

If your or your elderly loved one has been injured or killed in a accident, contact HOWARD LAW P.C. to schedule a free and confidential consultation to discuss your rights. Call (800) 872-5925.

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