Senior Drivers can Use a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

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Senior Drivers can Use a Motor Vehicle Accident Lawyer

For some time, both the media and the public at large have been aware of the impending demographic shift facing Canada at large. The Baby Boomer generation is aging; in fact, people over the age of 65 represent the fastest growing demographic in the country. This influx of seniors, combined with medical advances, will pose a plethora of heretofore unseen societal problems. One such problem, as a motor vehicle accident lawyer knows, is dealing with seniors’ drivers’ licenses. In order to better monitor senior drivers, it is important to understand how age affects driving and the risks of driving with chronic impairments.


Age and Driving


To be sure, senior drivers are not nearly the most dangerous drivers on the road. Young, inexperienced drivers are far and away the riskiest drivers on roads in all jurisdictions. One generally agreed upon reason for younger drivers facing collisions is that they simply have spent less time on the road and so have learned less about the subtleties of driving. However, if we followed this assumption alone, one would expect to see seniors with the lowest accident rates. Any motor vehicle accident lawyer can tell you that this is not the case—senior drivers actually have one of the highest collision rates.


Age and Chronic Impairments


As we age, it is natural to experience a depletion of certain physical and cognitive abilities. As joints and muscles age, they tend to weaken and become more fragile, limiting many seniors’ physical mobility. Eyesight decreases over time, requiring seniors to use stronger prescription eyewear, and the same can be said of hearing and hearing aids. Perhaps most perniciously, though, some seniors begin to experience cognitive difficulties as they age. It would be understandable to assume that cognitively difficulties, especially the early onset of dementia, present the highest risk for senior drivers. However, studies demonstrate that overall, cognitive performance is not significantly related to driving behaviour. Nonetheless, seniors represent one of the highest risk categories for crashes involving fatalities and serious injuries. This means that, rather than relating to cognitive performance, senior driving issues are likely due to physical impairments.


Senior Driving Moving Forward


As of 2009, three-quarters of senior drivers still had a drivers’ license. This statistic can be considered a positive. There is a growing opinion amongst researchers, certainly backed up by common sense, that leading an active life promotes good health and successful aging, and driving contributes to that level of activity. Seniors who mainly drive to get around are far more likely to have engaged in a social activity in the previous week, and a majority of seniors live in areas where cars are the most common form of transportation (e.g. rural areas, suburbs, etc.) Rather than limiting their driving, we should find ways to encourage safe driving that mitigates risk. For any motor vehicle accident lawyer or Toronto personal injury lawyer, this is essential. If you need help from a lawyer, contact Sokoloff Lawyers today for your free consultation.