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Age and Health Issues Make Car Accidents a Major Concern Among Older Adults

By Marc A. Johnston, posted in Car Accidents on May 15, 2020

Protecting the health and safety of older adults has been a top priority during the coronavirus pandemic. Their age and the underlying medical conditions they often suffer from put them at greater risk for infection. Alongside the threat of COVID-19, these factors also put them at increased risk for suffering serious personal injuries. Car accidents involving older adults are a major concern and one they, their family, and their friends need to be aware of.  

Car Accidents Involving Older Adults

Each May, the Administration for Community Living (ACL) leads the nation in celebrating Older Americans Month. It highlights the important contributions older adults make along with special needs and concerns they face. It is particularly relevant in 2020, in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. The illness tends to be more severe among older adults, who often have underlying medical conditions, causing older adults to curtail their usual activities. 

As Portland begins slowly reopening, there are additional safety issues older adults need to address. Driving allows older adults to maintain their independence and keeps them from having to rely on others to get groceries or attend medical visits. While many older adults continue to drive well into their 80s, it is important for them and their families to not downplay the risks. According to statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), car accidents are a leading cause of death and disability among people over 65. Each day, as many as 20 older adults die in motor vehicle crashes while an additional 700 suffer serious personal injuries. 

Factors that Increase Car Accident Risks for Older Adults

While years of experience behind the wheel means that older adults often have more practical knowledge about driving, age-related concerns and common health conditions they suffer from increase car accident risks. The American Automobile Association (AAA) warns that common impacts are likely to include: 

  • Vision disturbances, such as greater sensitivity to glare and reduced peripheral vision and depth perception;
  • Hearing loss, which can cause them to miss signs of impending danger, such as the sound of horns blaring or tires skidding;
  • Reduced reaction times, making them less able to respond to unexpected events;
  • Reduced muscle tone, making it harder to turn the wheel or slam on the brakes;
  • Reduced coordination, making it more difficult to complete complex tasks associated with driving in general;
  • Cognitive issues, such as memory disturbances and increased confusion, which can generally increase car accident risks. 

Older adults are also more likely to be on medications that  could cause driving impairments. Talking to their doctor about these risks and relying more on friends or family to drive them places can help to ensure they are protected. 

Let Us Help You Today

When car accident injuries impact you or a loved one, the Johnston Law Firm P.C. helps you get the compensation you need to recover in a claim. To request a consultation, call (503) 546-3167 or contact our Portland car accident attorneys online today.

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