ROCHESTER, N.Y. – Car crashes are dangerous for people of all ages but statistics have shown that elderly drivers consistently face a higher risk when they get behind the wheel. Despite the statistics, new research says teens remain the most dangerous drivers on the road.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, an average of 586 adults over the age of 65 are injured in car crashes each day. In addition to that number, more than 5,500 older adults are killed in car crashes yearly. Per mile behind the wheel, fatal crash rates are highest among drivers over 85.
However, British researchers say elderly drivers aren’t any more dangerous than teens despite the higher risk of injury or death. In fact, drivers over 70 are involved in 3-4 times fewer crashes than drivers between the ages of 17 and 21.
A Rochester car accident lawyer at Cellino & Barnes says older drivers are simply more susceptible to injuries and medical complications as a result of an accident.
“Car crashes can happen to anyone at any time in Rochester,” car accident lawyer Ross Cellino said. “Even if the crash is not your fault, you can suffer real and devastating injuries as a result. Elderly drivers happen to have the highest risk of suffering severe injuries.”
Older drivers were not found to be flawless however, researchers at Swansea University said. Drivers in their 70’s and 80’s tend to make more mistakes when they felt under pressure from other people on the road and most mistakes occurred at intersections.
Rochester car accident attorneys say intersections are now some of the most complicated and dangerous areas on the road but many towns and cities in New York are making infrastructure improvements to enhance safety at busy intersections.
“A person has several decisions to make every time they approach an intersection and some intersections are more dangerous than others,” Cellino said. “More than two-thirds of those who were hurt in a car crash were injured at an intersection – that’s how complex and dangerous some of these crossroads can be.”
In some cities and towns, traffic signals are being replaced with roundabouts to improve both intersection safety and traffic flow. Drivers are only faced with right-hand turns at intersections with roundabouts, limiting the number of decisions and traffic factors the driver must evaluate. Safety advocates believe changes to infrastructure like this could help decrease the number of injury and fatality crashes for older drivers.
Researchers at Swansea said older drivers often compensate for declining health by slowing down, leaving larger gaps and choosing the best weather to be on the road. These choices would tend to support roundabout infrastructure, which is most effective at slow to moderate road speeds.
Some states have discussed re-testing older drivers. Assessment programs have been launched in other countries like Australia and Denmark but neither of those nations reported positive results.
Although researchers concluded that older drivers are just as safe as everyone else, they did suggest eye tests and extra monitoring of prescription drug use.
As one of the largest personal injury law firms in New York State, the Rochester car accident lawyers at Cellino & Barnes urge drivers of all ages to be safe on our streets, roads and highways. If you’ve been injured in a car crash, call the firm that has been trusted by Western and Central New York for over 50 years. Call Cellino & Barnes today for a free consultation.