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Are senior drivers more dangerous than others?

Numerous physical or mental conditions can make driving more dangerous for older people, including reduced vision, medications and other impairments.

It can be difficult for older residents in Connecticut to make the decision to give up their keys. It isn’t easy to admit that a physical or cognitive condition is making it harder to drive. People of all ages value their independence and mobility, and it can be frustrating and discouraging to give up any part of one’s independence. However, as some examples have shown, the challenges that show up as people age may make some drivers more apt to get into car accidents as they get older.

The National Institute on Aging has pointed out several age-related impairments and conditions that can negatively impact driving. These may include the following:

  • Reduced hearing and eyesight
  • Age-related cognitive conditions, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease
  • Slower reflexes and reaction time to hazards
  • Stiffer joints and muscles making it more difficult to operate a vehicle
  • Medications that may cause drowsiness or unexpected reactions, such as fainting or seizures

Statistics from AAA have shown that fatal collisions increase for drivers over age 75, and significantly rise once they reach the age of 80.

Driver licensing laws for seniors in Connecticut

Some states have age-specific regulations for driver’s licenses, but Connecticut remains relatively lenient. According to the Connecticut General Assembly, drivers 65 and older can renew their licenses for a two-year period, as opposed to the usual six-year period. Additionally, medical professionals have the option of reporting a health condition that can make driving hazardous, although this reporting is not mandatory.

Senior citizen causes fatal crash in Colchester

A tragic accident that occurred last June highlights the possible dangers involving elderly drivers. As WFSB News reported, a 91-year-old woman failed to stop at the end of an off-ramp on Route 11 in Colchester. Her car continued through the intersection and struck another vehicle. The woman was killed, and two people in the other vehicle were mildly injured. Authorities were still investigating the cause of the crash, which remains unknown.

It may be unpleasant for senior citizens to confront the possibility that their driving abilities are becoming impaired, as well as try to find alternate ways of getting around or relying on others to run errands or take them to appointments. However, when circumstances mean that getting behind the wheel can put their or someone else’s lives at risk, it may be more responsible to put away the keys. Those who were hurt in an accident caused by another driver may benefit by speaking with an experienced Connecticut personal injury attorney.