THE MINNESOTA CAR ACCIDENT INJURY LAWYERS AT SCHMIDT AND SALITA LAW TEAM WANT TO ENSURE THE SAFETY OF MATURE DRIVERS ON THE ROADS
Mature Drivers – Ensuring their Safety and Yours on the Road
Aged 65 and over, mature drivers (also referred to as older drivers) represent a growing segment of America’s licensed drivers, but face an increased risk of traffic-related injuries and fatalities. According to the National Highway Traffic and Safety Administration, in 2016, 6,702 fatal crashes involved drivers 65 and older.
Older Minnesotans are living longer, thereby keeping their licenses longer and driving more miles than in the past. In 2015, less than 1 percent of fatalities among people 70 and older were caused by motor vehicle crashes. However, fatal crash rates (per vehicle mile traveled) begin to increase significantly for those aged 70-74 and are highest among drivers 85 and above. Surprisingly, this heightened risk is largely due to older drivers’ increased vulnerability to injury, rather than a higher likelihood of getting into crashes, according to the Institute of Insurance and Highway Safety.
Mature drivers often face difficulties in three important driving function functions that affect driving abilities: vision, cognition and motor function.
Adequate visual acuity and field of vision are critical for safe driving but tend to decline with age. Glare, impaired contrast sensitivity, and increased time needed to adjust to changes in light levels are problems commonly experienced by mature drivers.
Driving requires a variety of high-level cognitive skills, including memory, visual processing, attention and executive skills. Certain medical conditions (such as dementia) and medications that are common in the older population have a large impact on cognition.
- Motor Function
Motor abilities such as muscle strength, endurance and flexibility are necessary for operating vehicle controls and turning to view traffic. Even prior to driving, motor abilities are needed to enter the car safely and fasten the seat belt. Changes related to age and diseases such as arthritis can decrease an individual’s ability to drive safely and comfortably.
Changes in vision, physical strength and cognition can contribute to a loss of self-confidence in the ability to operate a motor vehicle. However, losing one’s drivers license is equated by some older adults as a loss of independence and personal freedom. Faced with this choice, some mature drivers risk personal injury rather than give up their license.
The American Medical Association, has released findings that mature drivers have a higher risk of traffic fatalities not only because they tend to be involved in more motor vehicle crashes per mile driven than middle-aged drivers, but also because they are more physically fragile than their younger counterparts.
There are differing perspectives on the risks of mature drivers between state motor vehicle and local law enforcement agencies. As the driving population becomes older, states are passing legislation putting certain restrictions on drivers.
The website Driver Licensing Policies and Practices, developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, contains an online database of state driver licensing policies and practices affecting older and medically-at-risk drivers. This resource also includes programs that licensing officials, policymakers and others can use to address the needs of older drivers.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team Handles a Wide Variety of Personal Injury and Wrongful Death Claims.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team handles cases involving car accidents, trucking accidents, motorcycle accidents, pedestrian car accidents, and bicycle accidents. It has many years’ experience in workers compensation , products liability and medical malpractice cases.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has extensive experience with concussion injuries, traumatic brain injuries, neck and back injuries, whiplash injuries, broken bones, injured joint injuries (knee, hip, shoulder, wrist, ankle, spinal), amputation injuries, and vision and eye injuries.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has offices through out the State of Minnesota. Its primary location is at Ridgedale Office Center in Minnetonka, near the intersection of I394 and I494. The offices are handicap accessible with ample parking.
The Schmidt Salita Team Offers Contingent Fee Arrangements.
The firm offers contingent fee agreements (You don’t pay lawyers fees until you collect and then only as a percentage of the settlement). It also offers home and hospital visits to clients whose injuries present difficulty in coming to the office.
“PERSONAL INJURY WITH PERSONAL ATTENTION TO EACH CASE”.
The Schmidt Salita Law Team has locations throughout the Twin Cities metropolitan area of Minneapolis and St. Paul, as well as Minnetonka, Maple Grove, Plymouth, Osseo, Anoka, Coon Rapids, Brooklyn Center, Fridley, Blaine, Shoreview, Woodbury, Falcon Heights, Columbia Park, Stillwater, Hastings, Inver Grove, Cottage Grove, South St. Paul, Apple Valley, Eagan, Burnsville, Savage, Shakopee, Richfield, Bloomington, Chaska, Chanhassen, Edina, Eden Prairie, and Hopkins.