A new report released by the Florida Department of Transportation states that fatal crashes among seniors 65 and older are on the rise. The study found that the older the driver, the more likely the risk of a fatal crash. In addition, drivers 65 and older are two times more likely than any other age group to be involved in a fatal accident behind the wheel.
“That is concerning. Older drivers are usually better drivers, but if they get into a wreck, a serious wreck, they are more likely to die,” FDOT spokesman Steve Olson told Spectrum News.
Interestingly, as seniors get older, they are less likely to be in a car crash. Yet, when car accidents do occur, they are more likely to be fatal.
There’s no shortage of scary stories on the news. Like the 82-year-old man who accidently drove off the road in Ormond Beach and hit four children. Luckily, all of the kids survived despite their injuries.
The highest crash rates in Florida occur in Orange and Osceola counties. In Orange County, there were more than 47 crashes per thousand people (65 and older) between the years of 2013 and 2017. In Osceola County, there were nearly 45 crashes per thousand people in the same age group.
The Aging Safety Plan in Florida
In response to these numbers, State transportation officials are busy working on an “Aging Safety Plan” that’ll include driver education courses for seniors. The goal is to help people decide when a senior should relinquish their license. It will also include alternative transportation resources. In addition, officials plan to improve roads and signs so that it’s easier for seniors to safely navigate roadways.
Giving up your license is easier said than done. It’s a big loss of freedom, and understandably seniors do not want to do it. That’s why once you reach 80 years old, you must renew your license every 6 years (instead of 8) and take tests to ensure you are still fit to drive.
A Look at the Numbers
Between 2013 and 2017, 708,221 crashes involving drivers 65 and older were reported in the state of Florida. That means there are around 37 crashes per 1,000 people who are 65 and older.
Keeping Florida’s Roadways Safe – Signs Seniors Should Stop Driving
As difficult as the decision may be, it’s better to give up your license than to be involved in a fatal car crash. Some signs that seniors should relinquish their license to drive include:
- You have a number of “close calls” or near-crashes; these incidents are on the rise or happening more often.
- There are more dents and scratches surfacing on your vehicle as a result of hitting curbs, mailboxes, garage doors, and so forth.
- You are getting lost while out on the road or ending up in unexpected locations.
- Struggling to see and follow road signs – this could be cognitive, but it could also just signal the need for new corrective lenses
- Physical limitations are increasing to the point it is getting in the way of safe driving practices
- You notice a rise in road rage or other signs of mood changes while behind the wheel.
- Reflexes are slowing down.
A Stellar Ride You Can Count On
Stellar Transportation specializes in non-emergency medical transportation for seniors. Just because you can’t drive yourself somewhere doesn’t mean you need to stay at home. We are here to get you wherever you need to go, safely, comfortably and in style! Contact us today to learn more.