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Older drivers are in the sympathetic situation of not always being able to identify the physical changes which impact their ability to drive. Nonetheless, accidents are dangerous for everyone on the road, and it is important that negligent drivers be held accountable for injuries they cause. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident, an experienced Providence car accident attorney will help you secure the compensation to which you are entitled by Rhode Island law.
There are many complications of age. Researchers have been working for decades to determine what, exactly, occurs to the human body and mind over time, and how these effects increase the risks of accidents and injuries. The Journal of the American Geriatrics Society reports on a study which found that drivers aged fifty-five and older were more likely to cause a car accident if they had sustained a fall prior to the car accident. The researchers posited that this could be caused by one of several different methods. For example: the fall could cause a physical injury, which limits functional mobility and impairs driving performance. Alternatively, falls may increase fear of falling, which in turns reduces physical activity. Or the psychological effects of a fall may simply lead to adverse changes in driving behavior. It is important to note that the research did not find that older drivers involved in an accident would be more likely to later sustain a fall. Rather, it determined that suffering a fall acted as a “predictor” for the likelihood that an older adult would later cause a motor vehicle accident. Because of this, the researchers could not definitively say that falls caused physiological changes which lead to later car accidents, or whether the same physiological changes of age were responsible for both the falls and the car accidents. What is known is that age presents very real complications – complications with potentially fatal consequences.
It is important for older drivers to take basic proactive measures in order to identify physiological problems as soon as possible with regular medical checkups. Hearing and vision, in particular, should be tested. Poor vision can make it especially difficult to drive at night. It is also especially important for older drivers to maintain awareness of their surroundings. Response times slow with age, and older drivers must identify and respond to obstacles in the road as quickly as possible.
There is much more research needed in order to determine whether older drivers are consistently at an increased risk of causing car accidents. If so, there will be larger public policy debates about the appropriate way to address the problem. Driver’s license restrictions, increased insurance premiums, public funds for injury victims, and other measures may all be viable options.
In the meantime, a Providence car accident attorney will ensure that auto accident victims receive the compensation to which they are legally entitled. Despite the sympathetic plight of older drivers, it is nonetheless important to hold drivers accountable for dangerous driving in order to keep the roads of Providence safe for everyone.