Elderly Driver Accidents: Safety Tips, Steps for Victims to Take

January 23, 2024

With an aging population and an increasing reliance on personal vehicles, the issue of elderly driver accidents has become a growing concern in South Carolina and across the nation. While older adults contribute significantly to society and deserve independent mobility, their physical and cognitive changes can sometimes pose risks on the road.

If you have been injured in a crash, our Camden car accident lawyers are here to help you get the compensation you deserve.

Senior Driver Accidents: The Problem

According to the National Safety Council (NSC), traffic fatalities among those 65 and older surged 15% from 2020 to 2021, marking a worrying continuation of a decade-long trend. The number of deaths has climbed 34% since 2010, even as the population of older adults grew 29%, translating to a 2.5% rise in the death rate per 100,000.

Common Causes of Elderly Driver Accidents

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), drivers aged 70 and over have higher crash death rates than middle-aged drivers. This increased risk can be attributed to several factors, including:

  • Diminished vision and hearing: Age-related vision and hearing loss can make it difficult for elderly drivers to perceive hazards and react quickly.
  • Slower reaction times: Cognitive decline and slower processing speeds can affect an elderly driver’s ability to make timely decisions behind the wheel.
  • Reduced physical mobility: Stiff joints and muscle weakness can limit an elderly driver’s control over the vehicle.
  • Certain medications: Some medications prescribed to manage age-related conditions can have side effects that impair driving skills.
  • Unfamiliar driving conditions: Older adults may struggle with adapting to new traffic patterns, construction zones, or inclement weather.
  • Underlying medical conditions: Conditions like stroke, dementia, or Parkinson’s disease can affect judgment and driving skills.

Safety Tips for Senior Drivers 

Keeping our roads safe for everyone requires a collective effort. Here are some safety tips for elderly drivers.

  • Regularly self-assess your driving abilities: Be honest with yourself about any limitations you may have and adjust your driving habits accordingly. Consider taking a driver refresher course.
  • Schedule regular vision and hearing checkups: Early detection and correction of any impairments can significantly improve driving safety.
  • Limit driving in challenging conditions: Avoid driving at night, in bad weather, or during peak traffic hours.
  • Talk to your doctor about medications: Discuss any potential side effects of your medications that could affect your driving.
  • Consider alternative transportation: Explore public transportation, ride-sharing services, or relying on family and friends for assistance with transportation needs.

senior drivers are more at risk to cause a crash

What to Do After a Car Accident in South Carolina

If you are involved in an accident with an elderly driver, it is crucial to understand your legal rights and take the necessary steps to protect yourself. Here are some key points to keep in mind:

  • Seek immediate medical attention: This is the top priority and ensures proper documentation of any injuries.
  • Contact the police and file a police report
  • Gather evidence: Take photos of the accident scene, damage to vehicles, and any visible injuries.
  • According to South Carolina Code § 56-5-1220, all drivers involved in accidents resulting in injury or death are required to stop, exchange information, and render aid if necessary. Failure to comply can result in criminal charges.
  • Do not discuss fault or liability at the scene.
  • Contact a Camden car accident lawyer: An experienced attorney can advise you on your legal options, help navigate the claims process, and pursue the compensation you deserve.

Compensation for Victims of Elderly Driver Accidents

Depending on the circumstances of the accident, victims may be entitled to compensation for various damages, including:

  • Medical expenses: This covers past and future medical bills related to the accident.
  • Lost wages: If your injuries prevent you from working, you may be entitled to compensation for lost income.
  • Pain and suffering: This compensates for the physical and emotional distress caused by the accident.
  • Property damage: This covers repairs or replacement of your vehicle or other damaged property.

Call Our Car Accident Lawyers in Camden, SC

Elderly driver accidents are a complex issue with significant public safety implications. Seniors need to follow safe driving, understand any physical limitations they have, and talk to a doctor if driving is becoming difficult.

If you have been injured in a wreck with an elderly driver, our Camden car accident lawyers are here to help you. Contact the Connell Law Firm at 803-310-5700 for a free injury case evaluation.