Senior citizens car accidents rising in Pennsylvania
The number of fatal car accidents that involve older drives is on the rise in Pennsylvania, and state officials believe the trend is likely to continue as the senior citizen population in Pennsylvania continues to grow. The safety issue for older drivers is especially critical to the state because, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, Pennsylvania has one of the largest populations of senior citizens and older drivers.
In Pennsylvania, there are more than 8.7 million licensed drivers. Of those 8.7 million or so licensed drivers, approximately 1.4 million 65 and older. That means that more than 16% of drivers in PA are considered “older drivers.” By 2020, according to the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation, it is believed that number will increase to 21%. Last year, close to three hundred drivers aged 65 and older died in car accidents, and older drivers were involved in nearly 17,000 car crashes. Older driver accidents represent about 15% of total crashes and the number of fatalities represents more than 22% of all traffic deaths. Those numbers are an increase in comparison to recent years. Older drivers are more often injured or die as a result of car accidents because of their quality of health and ability to recover from injuries is not as good as their younger counterparts.
Although it is challenging for older drivers to give up their driving licenses, PennDoT has provided some guidelines for when to limit or stop driving. A driver should consider limiting or stopping their driving when they feel uncomfortable, nervous, fearful, get lost more than normal, acquire unexplained dents or scratches on a car or garage, have difficulty staying in a traffic lane or difficulty understanding road signs, and have trouble determining intersections. In order to avoid car accidents, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation also offers a Shared-Ride Program. A link to information for the PennDoT Shared-Rid Program can be found by clicking here.