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Chance of fatal crashes, serious accidents increase with age

Older motorists drive less but have a higher per-mile chance of a serious car accident or fatal crash as they age, according to a study released this month. But the report also found some good news for Southwest Florida, which has one of the oldest populations in the United States: Fatal car accidents involved 21 percent fewer senior citizens over 70 than a decade ago.

The car accident attorneys and staff at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, encourage motorists to use patience as we drive through the holidays and enter the height of tourist season, a time wrought with an increased number of visitors, snowbirds, tourists and others less familiar with our roads.

Crash rates and fatal crashes increase on a miles-driven basis starting at age 70 and rise substantially after age 80, according to the same study.

The study of 10-years of data from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety said the overall decline in accidents among older drivers comes as the population of those over 70 increased by 10 percent. .

Reasons for the overall decline are unclear but another institute study suggests seniors are more often self-limiting their driving as they age and develop physical and cognitive impairments.

“The data doesn’t allow us to point to any one reason why older drivers’ fatal crash experience has improved,” said Anne McCartt, author of the studies. “Some drivers may have benefited from newer and safer vehicles, and older people generally are more fit than in years past, with better access to health care.”

There were 20 million licensed drivers over 70 — 2 million more than a decade ago. And their chances of a serious accident per-mile driven remains high. As do the challenges of recovering from a serious accident.

“These trends have raised concerns about older drivers in fatal crashes,” the report states. “Their fragility makes them vulnerable to getting hurt in a crash and then to dying from their injuries.”

Three out of every four people who die in crashes involving older drivers are senior citizens, according to the report.

There are certain things you can do to help protect your rights if you or someone you love is involved in an accident. The auto accident attorneys at Associates and Bruce L. Scheiner, Personal Injury Lawyers, offer free appointments to discuss your case and offices are conveniently located throughout Southwest Florida, including Fort Myers, Naples, Cape Coral, Arcadia, Port Charlotte, Sebring and Venice.