Last month in South Los Angeles, a 100-year-old driver backed into a group of elementary school children waiting to cross the street. Fourteen were injured in this California pedestrian accident. While the senior behind the wheel had no history of traffic violations, the car accident has many wondering whether more should be done to prevent elderly drivers from staying behind the wheel long after it is safe. Currently, over 70,000 people over the age of 90 hold valid driver’s licenses in the state of California.
According to a recent report conducted by TRIP and the American Association of State Highway and Transportation Officials, car accident fatalities increase after the age of 65—and, older drivers are significantly more likely to be injured in accidents at intersections or involving left turns.
Why is this the case? Very simply, aging causes vision and hearing loss while also slowing reaction times and decreasing strength. In addition, some elderly drivers may have difficulty reasoning and remembering due to age-related cognitive issues. At the same time, elderly drivers are more likely to suffer serious injuries or die in car accidents because of their more vulnerable physical state.
However, it also is important to note that elderly drivers still are not the most dangerous age group on the road. Seniors are less likely to speed, drive recklessly, or drink and drive, unlike teen drivers – the drivers who cause the most accidents on the road.
While some are calling for stricter regulations for older drivers, it is important to note that some regulations already exist in California, and just over half of all states have specific driver’s license renewal laws for elderly drivers. In California, drivers over the age of 70 must pass a written test and an eye exam every five years in order to renew their license, while younger drivers may have their licenses automatically renewed.
If you were injured in a California car accident with an elderly driver, you need to know who was at fault and whether you should pursue damages. The Newport Beach personal injury attorneys at Russell & Lazarus are here to help. Call us today toll-free at (949) 851-0222 to schedule a free, private meeting.