Car Accidents in Boston: Elderly Driver GDL Program

March 25, 2012

The more experience a driver has, the safer they are behind the wheel -- sometimes.

There's a certain age we're all going to reach someday when experience isn't going to work on our side anymore. There comes a time when age is going to bring about physical frailty and cognitive issues that are going to increase our risks for a car accident in Boston. Elderly drivers and these risks have been a topic of debate for some time now. Officials are still looking for effective ways to help keep these elderly drivers out of potentially fatal car accidents.
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Right now, driver's licenses for elderly drivers only get restricted after there have been a number of traffic incidents. Sometimes these restrictions can come too late.

Our Boston injury attorneys understand that some safe driving advocates are considering graduated driver's licensing (GDL) programs for senior drivers, much like the GDL programs that are currently in place for novice drivers. Many believe that these programs can help to cut accidents risks. Effective GDL programs can reduce the number of road accidents involving teen drivers by nearly 20 percent, according to Medical Press.

"With this approach, a full driver's license defaults automatically to a restricted license that allows seniors to continue to drive only under relatively favorable roadway conditions," said Drs. Donald Redelmeier, University of Toronto.

Many believe that seniors should have to face certain restrictions behind the wheel depending on medical exams. Programs like this should be able to help eliminate the need for confusing and difficult medical suspension talks.

The truth of the matter is that many older baby boomers will be turning 65-years-old this year and we will be faced with the largest-ever generation of senior citizens to have driver's license.

According to a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety of more than 2,000 adults, including more than 510 over the age of 65, about 50 percent said that they were concerned with losing their ability to drive as they age.

With a suggestive editorial from the Canadian Medical Association Journal, researchers believe that there should be some sort of program in place to help judge the abilities of senior drivers. Licensing should rely on a driver's abilities, age or benchmarks. Exceptions should only be made to those who are in good health and have been checked off by their doctor.

"The idea here is to preserve licensing during regular daylight hours so that the person can still do their grocery shopping and visit the hardware store and see their grandchildren," says Redelmeier.

According to the Medical Affairs Branch of the Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles, officials do not put an age limit on drivers in the state. Drivers in Massachusetts can renew their driver's license for a 5- year period both online and in person. You are required to renew the license in person at least once every 10 years. During this time, drivers are usually required to take a knowledge test and a vision test.

If you or the elderly driver in your family has been injured in a car accident in Massachusetts, contact Boston Injury Lawyer Jeffrey S. Glassman. Our law firm offers free and confidential appointments to discuss the rights of accident victims and the families of these victims. Call 877-617-5333.

More Blog Entries:

Avoiding Auto Accidents in Boston and Elsewhere in One Simple Step, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, April 5, 2012

Distracted Driving Car Accidents in Massachusetts, Not Just a Teen Problem, Boston Personal Injury Attorney Blog, April 2, 2012