Because of the way the aging process affects how we drive, older drivers are statistically more likely to be seriously injured or killed in a car accident. This is especially a concern for seniors who drive as part of their job. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics Census, drivers 55 or older are twice as likely to die in a work-related car accident as their younger counterparts. So what can employers do to protect their older drivers and what can senior workers do to stay sharp on the road?
How Age Affects Driving
The physical and neurological changes that happen as we age affect how we drive. As we get older our eyesight and hearing become less sharp. Our eyes need more time to adjust to changes in daylight. Many older drivers have trouble seeing at dusk, dawn, and in the dark. Our eyes become more sensitive to glare from oncoming headlights and street lights also make nighttime driving more challenging. Hearing loss is also common in older adults. Senior drivers may not hear the horns and sirens of other drivers warning them of danger.
The motor skills used to operate a motor vehicle and react to hazards also change with age. Seniors are not as flexible as younger drivers, which can make it harder to turn around to see other cars or pedestrians and steer and park a car. Cognitive changes that happen with age also affect our ability to drive safely. Reaction time, memory, and attention span often decline, affecting our ability to understand and follow directions and traffic signs and signals.
Preventing Work-Related Car Accidents
By the year 2020 there will be approximately 40 million drivers over the age of 65 on the road. With Americans working longer than ever before, what can be done to ensure their safety? The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend that employers and workers share the responsibility for keeping older drivers safe at work.
The CDC encourages employers to:
Prevent distracted driving by banning the use of hand-held phones while driving
Plan travel routes that allow drivers to maintain the speed limit and include downtime for rest or bad weather
Require seatbelt use for every employee
Asses driver ability on a regular basis
Promote safe driving with ongoing testing and training
The CDC encourages workers to:
Avoid distracted driving, especially cell phone use
Maintain good physical health
Ensure that any medications they take do not affect the ability to drive
Get regular eye and hearing exams
Always wear a seatbelt
Our seniors are a vital part of the American workforce. The experience, knowledge, and skills they contribute should never be discounted. When employers accommodate the needs of older drivers, they encourage them to remain employable and productive well into their golden years.
Philadelphia Work Accident Lawyer Jeffrey S. Gross Represents Workers Injured in Car AccidentsMany Americans postpone retirement indefinitely out of choice or financial need. Because of the changes that come with the aging process, seniors who drive for a living are at greater risk of injury or death. Philadelphia work accident lawyers at the law firm of Jeffrey S. Gross represent employees injured in work-related accidents. To learn about benefits you may be entitled to, call 215-512-1500 to schedule a free initial consultation or contact the firm online. Jeffrey S. Gross and his team are experienced workplace accident lawyers that serve the greater Philadelphia region.