Other than teenagers, older senior drivers have the highest death rates and can be considered among the most dangerous drivers on the road. Seniors can present a high risk of collisions because many are affected by age-related impairments and yet continue to drive even when it has stopped being safe for them to be behind the wheel.
Seniors present a high collision risk due to vision declines, cognitive declines, delayed reflexes, and other health issues. Medications that seniors are prescribed by doctors can present impairment similar to that of a drunk or distracted driver. In some cases, seniors become confused or otherwise make errors behind the wheel, which can lead to accidents happening.
For example, one accident in Jonesboro reported on by CBS 46 provided an example of a senior who made a mistake while driving. In this particular case, an elderly woman crashed through a storage shed.
Accident Shows Risks of Senior Motorists on the Road
The accident reported on by CBS 46 happened at around 2:00 PM and involved an "elderly woman" driving her car directly through a storage shed. The police chief for Jonesboro indicates her car went all the way through the shed, going in the front and coming out the back. The accident cause was not listed, but since this was a single vehicle accident with a stationary object, the older woman driving the car likely bears full responsibility for the incident.
The elderly woman and two other people were taken to the hospital for treatment of injuries. Fortunately, no one was hurt. In far too many cases, seniors lose their lives when they become involved in motor vehicle collisions. In fact, many studies indicate that while seniors represent only a small percentage of total drivers on the road - and tend to avoid driving at night or while impaired by alcohol - car accident rates involving senior drivers remain disproportionately high.
Many of the deaths of vulnerable seniors could be prevented if the senior stopped driving because of physical or mental health limitations. Unfortunately, Arkansas has no special rules or restrictions applicable to senior drivers; not even a requirement for seniors to renew their licenses more frequently than young people as many other states do.
Since the state doesn't impose any checks to make sure seniors can still actually drive safely, seniors and their families have to take responsibility. An older driver should stop driving on his own once he thinks he cannot drive safely any more. Since many people do not realize their own limitations or insist they can still operate a motor vehicle safely, family may also have to step in and stop a senior from continuing to drive once his health prevents him from being safe.