Ohio and Kentucky rank high for accidents involving elderly drivers

A recent study says that Ohio has one of the highest rates of fatal car accidents involving elderly drivers.

A recent study by transportation-research group TRIP has found that Ohio has one of the highest rates of fatal traffic accidents involving elderly drivers in the United States, according to the Akron Beacon-Journal. The study found that 22 percent of fatal car accidents in Ohio involve a driver over 65 years of age. Furthermore, Ohio ranked eighth in the country for the overall number of elderly drivers killed in traffic accidents. The study also found that Kentucky, while not as bad as Ohio, also ranked high for accidents involving elderly drivers.

Where Ohio and Kentucky rank

The study found that Ohio ranks eleventh in the country in terms of the percentage of fatal vehicle accidents that involve a driver who is 65 or older, while Kentucky ranks 19th. About 22 percent of such accidents in Ohio involve an elderly driver, despite the fact that just 20 percent of drivers in the state are 65 or over. Furthermore, Ohio had the eighth-most drivers who were 65 or over killed in traffic accidents in the country, with 147 such drivers killed in the state in 2016. Kentucky had the 14th-most at 178.

The study is significant given the rapidly aging populations of Ohio, Kentucky, and the country as a whole. By 2035, the U.S. Census Bureau expects Americans over 65 will outnumber those under 18 for the first time in history. Ohio currently has the sixth-most drivers who are 65 and over in the country and the 15th-highest percentage of drivers who are over 65.

Road safety for older drivers

Older drivers face unique safety issues when on the road. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports, whereas for all drivers 49 percent of fatal accidents happen in the daytime, for older drivers the percentage shoots up to 74 percent. That's because older drivers are more likely than others to refrain from driving at night. Intersections are a notable area of concern for older drivers. About 37 percent of fatal crashes involving older drivers happen at intersections, compared to just 20 percent of fatal crashes for drivers of all age groups.

A number of simple initiatives could help make driving conditions safer for the elderly. The study recommends increasing lighting, especially at intersections, and making traffic signs bigger and easier to read. When older drivers no longer feel comfortable driving, they should also have alternative transportation options readily available. Unfortunately, older Americans are more likely to live in rural and suburban areas, where public transit, taxis, and ride-hailing services may be more limited, thus increasing their dependency on driving later in life.

Personal injury law

A motor vehicle accident is never an easy experience, but it can be especially difficult when one may have to fight against the big insurance companies to get fairly compensated. A personal injury attorney can help injured accident victims pursue the compensation they may deserve, including by representing them in any negotiations with their insurers.