Senior drivers might have the most experience on the road, but they often have more car crashes despite that experience. This is usually due to slower reaction times and poorer reflexes.
People are living longer and driving longer. Since 2003, the population over the age of 65 has increased 20%. Over the next 20 years, the number of drivers over the age of 70 is expected to triple. While many older drivers remain safe drivers, physical and cognitive changes that occur as part of the aging process affect some drivers.
Florida’s Elderly Drivers
As a popular state for retirees, Florida has a high proportion of elderly drivers. By 2030, 27% of the state’s population is expected to be over the age of 65. These individuals are expected to make up nearly 30% of the drivers on the road.
There are currently about 2.7 million drivers over the age of 65 in Florida, and Florida has the highest senior crash death rate in the country. In 2012, nearly 14% of all of Florida fatal crashes involved an elderly driver.
Florida Licensing Requirements
Florida does have some special licensing requirements for drivers over the age of 80. All drivers over the age of 79 are required to pass a vision test when renewing their license. In addition, a driver may be required to taken a written test as well if there is a concern about a medical condition, or behavior, which might impair their ability to drive.
Accident Statistics by Age
When it comes to elderly drivers who are involved in crashes, there is a sharp spike in fatal accidents at intersections. Forty percent of fatalities involving elderly drivers occur at intersections. Failure to yield the right-of-way has been the most common cause of accidents, accounting for nearly 80% of the causes in accidents where elderly drivers were at fault.
Vision limitations and slower reflexes might be a contributing cause to these types of accidents.
Deciding when an elderly loved one should stop driving is a difficult subject for many families. Many senior drivers are unwilling to give up their independence when their driving abilities start to fade. It’s a decision that should never be made on age alone. Senior drivers should continue driving as long as they can do so safely and not pose a risk to themselves and others on the road.