North Carolina is ranked #5 in the percentage of fatal accidents involving drivers who are 65 or older, according to a nonprofit transportation research group.
The number of older drivers who are involved in fatal accidents is rising faster than the overall population of people 65 and older, according to the report by TRIP, a group in Washington DC that evaluates economic and technical data on various types of surface transportation.
North Carolina is ranked #9 for the number of licensed drivers who are 65 and older – 1.4 million. But the state is ranked #5 for the number of traffic deaths that involved at least one older driver – 285 in 2016.
The report states the higher number of fatalities with elderly drivers is due in part to physical frailties that make them less likely to live after an accident. Older drivers are usually more cautious than others on the roads, but they also have poorer eyesight, slower reaction time and less physical and cognitive ability, generally.
The report recommended several steps that states can try to make roads safer for elderly drivers. Wider lane stripes, larger lettering on signs and longer exit and merge lanes are some strategies that could make roads safer for older and all drivers. Transit systems and ride sharing also can help. Some say self driving vehicles will eventually help to take people off the roads that are too old to drive.
It is true as we age that our physical and mental abilities decline to a certain degree. These facts can make it more difficult for us to drive safely. If you are an older driver, keeping your eyesight in good shape is very important for staying safe on the road:
- If you are 65 or older, you should go to your eye doctor at least every two years. Ask if there is anything that can be done to improve your eyesight, especially your distance vision.
- If you need contacts or glasses to see distances when you drive, be sure your prescription is up to date. Always wear your lenses when you are driving.
- Do not drive at night if you have difficulty seeing at night. Do not drive during sunrise and sunset as the sun can be in your line of vision.
As Virginia personal injury attorneys, we know how important it is for drivers to be fit for the road before they get behind the wheel. Serious and sometimes fatal accidents and sizable personal injury lawsuits can occur when drivers get in accidents that hurt others.