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The truth about fatal motor vehicle accidents involving seniors

Due to its ease at attracting retirees and those wishing to get away from harsh winters in other parts of the country, Florida has become a haven for senior citizens. With a high senior population, this brings about concerns for their safety behind the wheel. It is often assumed that as a person gets older, they naturally become worse at driving. However, this may not be entirely true.

The Insurance Information Institute reported additional requirements that must be met by older drivers in the state to help ensure they are still safe to drive and to hopefully reduce fatal auto accidents. The normal license renewal period in Florida is eight years, but for drivers who are 80 years old or older, the renewal period drops to six years. They are also required to pass a vision test at renewal.  The concern over fatal accidents and older drivers comes from the statistics. In fatal auto accidents, 17 percent of involved drivers were 65 or older in 2013. In addition, second only to young drivers, the group with the highest number of fatal accidents was seniors.

Despite these figures, though, there is a lot of research that supports the fact that seniors may not actually be more likely to be involved in a fatal crash but that due to their physical conditions, they are simply more likely to obtain fatal injuries. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that the highest number of fatal accidents involving older drivers are for those over the age of 85 and furthermore, that at the age of 70, the rate begins to increase.

While there is no way to completely prevent the involvement of seniors in motor vehicle accidents, there are ways senior drivers can protect themselves. These things include not driving under the influence of alcohol or drugs, including any prescribed medications; always wearing a seatbelt; and driving during the day and when the pavement is dry.