As our population increases, so does the percentage of U.S. residents over age 65. This translates into a higher number of older drivers on the road than ever before. There is also a corresponding increase in the fatality rate of drivers 65 and older, according to the national transportation research group, TRIP. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) states that this higher fatality rate is because older drivers tend to be less healthy than younger drivers.
Driving helps older adults stay more independent, and lessens the burden on their families, but there are associated risks. However, any driver that is impaired by poor vision, inadequate judgement, or deteriorating motor skills can pose a hazard to other drivers.
Improving Senior Road and Highway Safety
Older drivers need our help. Insurance agencies, groups like AARP, AAA, state and local government agencies are working together to create programs to evaluate and address the changing driving skills of older Americans.
The TRIP study showed that older drivers can have poor vision and slower reflexes. This can cause problems in estimating distance on the road and making unsafe driving decisions. Many states require vision tests. Some states are also trying to identify, analyze, and regulate aging drivers that need to modify their driving habits.
There are resources out there that address these needs. Seniors can take driving assessments at the local Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). There are also specific Mature Driving courses offered at the DMV, as well as by AAA. Most of us have not tried to improve our driving skills once we first got our licenses; we just passed the test and never looked back. These safety courses bring seniors up to speed on present-day driving rules, defensive driving, and how to avoid distracted and unsafe drivers.
Improving Driving Safety for All
Making road conditions safer is another excellent way to help this population, along with everyone else that operates a motor vehicle.
Increasing the sizes of road signs and adding brighter lights would help everyone with decreased eyesight. Changing unclear language to make it easier to understand quickly, and revamping poorly designed road signs can also be very beneficial. Sometimes road sign placement is confusing if it is too close to the exit, for example. Roundabouts are designed to reduce turns across traffic, so these are another safety improvement, since making a left turn across lanes of moving traffic can be unsafe.
Longer entrance and exit lanes, plus making ramp curves less sharp are additional measures that would help drivers. Brighter, reflective markings on pavements and corners, larger traffic signals, increased markings and signs at pedestrian crosswalks are other ideas that would help make our roads safer.
Philadelphia Car Accident Lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC Stand Up for Car Accident VictimsThe fact that these safety and prevention discussions are taking place is a good first step, but there is no way to prevent all car accidents. If you are involved in a car accident, the Philadelphia car accident lawyers at McCann & Wall, LLC. can help. Call us today at 215-569-8488 or complete our online form to schedule an initial consultation. With offices throughout Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, we serve clients throughout the state, Delaware, and New Jersey.