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Spike in Senior Traffic Deaths Fuels New Safety Guides

In Florida, where one in five drivers is age 65 or above, more senior citizens die in traffic accidents than any other state. This problem is likely to become even more pronounced as Florida's population of elderly drivers continues to grow in the coming years. By 2030, government estimates predict that people age 65 and older will account for one in four Florida drivers.

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Elsewhere in the country, senior driving safety has also been a matter of growing concern in recent years. Nationwide, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the number of licensed senior drivers has increased by 21 percent over the last decade. In 2012, Car accidents claimed the lives of 5,560 senior citizens and injured approximately 214,000 more - a 16 percent spike in injuries and a 3 percent increase in fatalities over the year before.

Safety Efforts Focus on Education, Research and Technology

In an effort to help address the growing issue of traffic safety for elderly drivers, U.S. regulators recently launched a five-year initiative intended to help reverse the upward trend of car accidents involving senior drivers. The initiative focuses its efforts in three main areas:

  1. Driver behavior. A key part of the NHTSA's senior driver safety plan involves identifying specific functional changes that may affect older drivers, such as fluctuations in vision, cognition, flexibility and strength. The NHTSA will also work to improve public education about these issues.
  2. Vehicle safety. Another way in which the initiative aims to promote safety among older drivers is by enhancing the built-in safety features of cars and other passenger vehicles manufactured in the United States, such as crash avoidance systems and improvements in vehicle crashworthiness.
  3. Data collection. Along with its efforts to address driver behavior and vehicle safety, the NHTSA will also work to improve the data collection systems it uses to track and analyze traffic accidents among senior citizens. Additional resources will be devoted to scientific studies that address the physical, cognitive and perceptual changes that may affect drivers' behavior as they age.

If you or a member of your family has been hurt in a traffic accident in Florida, the law entitles you to pursue monetary compensation through the legal system if the crash was caused by someone else's negligence or recklessness. To learn more about seeking compensation to offset your medical bills, lost wages and other expenses after a Florida traffic accident, discuss your situation with a knowledgeable personal injury lawyer.


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