Higher accident rates for older drivers

Elderly drivers have recently been the subject of much controversy. At the moment there is no restriction on what age you are legally allowed to drive till.

A study by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 1997 showed only 9% of the population are senior citizens. Those 9% actually caused 14% of fatal traffic accidents and 17% of the fatal pedestrian accidents.

There have been many more studies which show the correlation between an increase in age and the probability of being involved in a car accident which results in fatalities or serious injuries.

Recently this has been the subject of public debate due to an accident which was caused by an 87 year old driver. The driver was travelling the wrong way on the NYS Thruway and resulted in 3 fatalities.

A call for harsher licensing requirements in New York

Safety campaigners have been asking for harsher licensing requirements throughout the nation for elderly drivers.

At the moment every 8 years, drivers in New York are required to renew their license irrespective of age. This is not the same in every state. Some states have increased restrictions for drivers over a certain age. In Illinois once you reach 75 you would be required to retake your driving test every 4 years, until you are 87 when you have to take it every year.

Unless mental or physical health is brought into question, New York drivers are simply required to take an eye test in order to renew their license. Which is why this debate is recently such a hot topic.

There is no definitive answer as to when exactly age begins to play a part in how competent a driver you are. Statistics keep proving elderly drivers pose a higher risk for injuries associated with driving

What to do if you are in a car accident

Car accidents can be frightening and stressful no matter what age you are. It is important you try and stay calm and remember what to do.

Before an accident has even taken place it is advisable to be prepared. Carrying a set of cones or triangles at all time will alert traffic and hopefully prevent any further accidents. You should also carry a pen and paper to jot down any details of the other driver/s.

First steps after an accident:-

  • Stay calm! If you are all worked up you are likely to make mistakes and miss details that you should have noted down
  • If a personal injury has been sustained call an ambulance immediately. Be sure to check if anyone else involved in the accident requires medical attention as well
  • If there isn’t too much damage to vehicles and it is safe to do so, move vehicles out the way of traffic
  • Put hazard lights on and put out your warning cones
  • Even if the accident is only small be sure to call the police
  • Make notes about the accident. Try to take down as much information as possible about the other driver and the accident
  • Take as many photos/ videos on a camera phone as possible. The more information you can relay to the insurance company the better. Try to ensure you take pictures of damage sustained to both vehicles. If the other driver admits liability at the scene try to film it, even if you don’t tell them you are filming
  • Never admit liability! That is the insurers decision to make
  • If possible try not to leave the scene of the accident before the police and the other drivers do
  • Get the details of any witnesses. Get names, phone numbers and addresses

After the accident

You need to report the accident to your insurance company as soon as possible. It is important you tell them the truth and do not lie. Lying to insurance companies can get you into serious trouble and could potentially lead to you being to blame for the accident even if it wasn’t your fault.

Make sure you keep a thorough note of any medical treatment you receive. Also get copies of any medical reports and bills as they may help you prove how much this accident has cost you overall.

Personal injury is easier to document than pain and suffering. Keeping a diary of how you have been affected in daily life, will help to prove how this accident has affected your life.

Whether a serious injury or a personal injury has been sustained to yourself, or anyone else involved, contacting a knowledgeable attorney is advisable. A good attorney will be able to help you receive the maximum amount you deserve. If you are at fault they will defend you which could potentially cost you a lot more.