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As people live longer, driving risks increase

One of the benefits of modern medicine is that people live longer than they used to. And that’s a very good thing. However, it may also mean you face greater risks when you drive.

First of all, consider the fact that about 44 million people who were at least 65 years old had a driver’s license in 2017. That’s a huge portion of the population, and it’s a massive 63% larger than the number of 65-and-up drivers on the roads back in 1999. In just about two decades, vast amounts of elderly people have continued to drive. That may only increase in the decades to come.

The issue is that elderly drivers have disproportionately high fatality rates in car accidents. They pass away at a higher rate, for instance, than those who are between 35 years old and 54 years old. Much of it has to do with frailty.

It’s not just the elderly drivers who face these risks, though. Driving safely can become harder as they deal with cognitive decline, vision regression, hearing issues and more. Physical changes and limitations, for instance, could slow their reaction times, while cognitive issues could lead to confusion and mistakes.

By no means is this an attempt to malign elderly drivers. Many are safe, and all of them value their independence. But you also cannot overlook these risks, especially as the number of elderly drivers continues to climb.

Have you gotten injured in a crash with someone who perhaps should no longer have been behind the wheel? Make sure you know if you have a right to financial compensation.