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Elderly drivers may cause a traffic risk in OK


As drivers age, they may be at an increased risk of causing an accident. Age-related physical or cognitive impairments may contribute to the danger.

As more of the Baby Boomer population ages, the chances of them getting into an accident may increase. Statistics have shown that drivers older than 80 are several times more likely to be involved in a fatal accident than younger drivers, states Consumer Reports. Residents of Oklahoma may face risks when sharing the road with elderly drivers who, for age-related reasons, should not be behind the wheel.

Each day, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, about 15 seniors are killed in accidents and 500 more are injured across the country. There are numerous reasons for the increase in risk, which may include:

• Medical conditions that can affect driving, including diabetes, heart problems or injuries

• Cognitive impairments, such as the effects of a stroke or the beginning stages of dementia

• A decline in vision or hearing

Additionally, states NIH Senior Health, older drivers may run into confusion with changing roads and new driving regulations.

Are there driver’s licensing regulations in Oklahoma regarding senior citizens?

Some states have enacted regulations for driver’s licensing regarding older drivers, points out the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. These may include requiring drivers over a certain age to renew their licenses more frequently or to provide a doctor’s proof of adequate vision or physical ability to drive, thus reducing the chances of vehicle collisions. However, age-related driver’s licensing regulations are not present in Oklahoma, states the IIHS. Drivers of all ages have the same license renewal requirements and expectations.

A crash that occurred in November in Grant may have highlighted a driving problem involving a senior citizen. According to KXII News, an 82-year-old woman pulled out onto Highway 271 into the path of an oncoming pickup. Two of the truck’s passengers received minor injuries, and the elderly driver was killed. Because of her death, it was not known if age contributed to the accident, but it may have been possible.

Understandably, many older drivers may be reluctant to relinquish the keys and give up more of their independence if they are no longer safely able to drive. However, the alternative – being responsible for the injuries or death of another in a traffic accident – is worse. If you or a family member were injured in a crash caused by an elderly driver, you may be eligible for compensation. You may wish to speak with an experienced Oklahoma personal injury attorney as soon as possible to discuss your options.