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Why do car accidents increase with age?

When it comes to safe driving, the general assumption is that younger drivers are more inexperienced and lack the maturity that older drivers have, therefore younger drivers are the most dangerous on the road. Though this is true, it is also true that the risk of being injured or killed in a car accident increases as one ages. On average, more than 550 older adults across the country are injured in crashes every day.

Ohio residents may be surprised to hear that approximately 36 million people aged 65 and older had driving licenses across the country in 2012, which amounted to a 34 percent increase from 1999. Though older adults are more experienced than their younger counterparts, and driving helps older adults stay mobile and independent, age related declines in vision and cognitive function affect driving abilities in ways they do not for younger drivers.

This may be the reason why fatal crash rates increase for drivers between 70 and 74, and are actually the highest for drivers aged 85 and older. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention goes on to mention that even though the number of accidents elder Americans get into isn't very high, their old age makes them more susceptible to injuries and complications caused by those injuries. In 2012, there were, on average, 15 older adults killed daily in motor vehicle crashes.

A few safety precautions such as wearing safety belts and avoiding driving during adverse weather conditions can go a long way in preventing car accidents at any age, not just for elder Americans. But despite taking these precautions, it is still possible that a car accident takes place due to someone else's negligence and an Ohio resident is injured in the process. Due to their age, elder Americans may have higher medical expenses and it may be difficult to cover them out of pocket. In some cases, it may be possible to attempt to hold a negligent driver responsible for such damages.

Source: CDC, http://www.cdc.gov/motorvehiclesafety/older_adult_drivers/ Accessed on Aug. 25, 2015

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