History of Falling Increases Risk of Auto Accidents for Older Drivers
Posted on behalf of Arnold Law Firm on Mar 28, 2016 in Auto Accidents
A new study shows that elderly drivers who have had one or more recent falls are significantly more likely to be in-volved in an automobile accident, as opposed to elderly individuals who have no history of falling.
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This information comes from research released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers ("LongROAD") project, which focuses on creating an extensive database of information regarding older drivers. The information will be collected over a period of several years and will track the most common driving trends seen in the elderly.
By observing and recording this information, researchers involved with the LongROAD project will pave the way for additional in-depth studies that also target potential risks and possible preventative actions aimed at keeping senior citizens and other drivers safe on America's roadways.
The project concluded that elderly drivers who are susceptible to falling were 40 percent more likely to be involved in, or be the cause of, a motor vehicle accident. Researchers determined that experiencing a fall can be detrimental to an older driver in more than one way. Debilitating injuries, long recovery times and avoidance of activities can all increase an elderly driver's risk of being involved in a crash.
For example, falling unexpectedly may result in serious injuries that limit the driver's ability to steer effectively or brake in time to avoid collisions. Additionally, a fall that does not leave a driver injured can create apprehensive feel-ings about falling again. This fear can cause a driver to avoid activities that promote good balance and muscle strength, both of which are beneficial to maintaining acceptable driving skills.
With drivers over the age of 60 being involved in more than 400,000 crashes annually, it is clear that not all seniors are receiving the guidance needed to keep themselves and others safe on the roads. The LongROAD project recommends that elderly individuals who have experienced one or more falls become aware that falling may be an early indicator of physical fitness deterioration. This could result in an elderly driver being involved in an auto accident, as adequate physical fitness is needed to operate a vehicle safely.