A recent study by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety discovered that senior drivers who have previously fallen increase their crash risk by 40 percent.
Although many accidents now-a-days are linked to texting and driving, driving while intoxicated, defective car parts or drowsy driving, this report sheds light on a new safety concern for motorists, cyclists and pedestrians – seniors with a fall history.
It is estimated that 12 million seniors fall per year. With falls being linked to diminished driving abilities, these drivers may be putting themselves and others in danger.
AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety Study Results
Seniors age 60 and older were the target group for this study since these motorists were involved in 400,000 crashes per year. Peter Kissinger, CEO of the AAA Foundation, stressed the importance of keeping these drivers safe as well as everyone else on the road. This research is imperative because an older person’s fall history can be used to identify if he or she is more apt to crash.
This study contains that latest data from AAA’s LongROAD project, which focuses on presenting research on aging drivers. The report details two ways that falls can increase the likelihood of a crash:
- Falls can cause seniors to lose their ability to function well, such as a broken arm that makes it challenging to steer a car.
- Falls can also raise a person’s fear of falling which may lead to less physical movement that can impact driving skills.
Consequences of Fall Related Crashes
With millions of seniors falling annually, the prevention of falls is necessary. If physical activity is limited due to a previous fall, then muscle weakness and instability may negatively affect driving skills and endanger anyone on the road.
As a family member of an elderly loved one, monitoring a senior’s falling risk factor is important. For seniors who have fallen, the AAA says that stretches and certain exercises that improve flexibility may be helpful. Medications that could make older people groggier or unsteady can be addressed with treating doctors. A driving improvement course could assist senior drivers in staying safer on the road and measuring motor skills. Combined, these recommendations could prevent future falls and reduce the risk of crashes.
Auto injuries or fatalities do not just affect victims. They can affect dependents and families, too. If you have suffered because of an auto accident, contact the law offices of Simien & Simien to speak with our skilled auto accident attorneys today and find out what your legal options are.