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Addressing Elderly Driving Safety in Massachusetts

To help amp up Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) are announcing a new road safety plan aimed at seniors.
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“This plan will help enhance safety for everyone by helping states address the mobility needs of their older drivers,” said Anthony Foxx, U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx.

Our Quincy car accident lawyers know, since 2003, the number of elderly licensed drivers has increase by more than 20 percent, to close to 40 million older licensed drivers recorded in the U.S. in 2012. During that year, there were close to 6,000 people over the age of 65 who were killed and another 215,000 who were injured in traffic accidents. That’s a near 5 percent increase in the number of fatalities and a more than 15 percent increase in the number of injuries from the year before. One of the most important factors is that these elderly individuals are more likely to sustain serious injuries or die in a traffic accident than younger individuals — even in low-severity accidents.

To help to better protect these elderly individuals, officials with the NHTSA are focusing on:

-Vehicle Safety: Officials are looking into a number of advanced vehicle technologies, including collision avoidance, crashworthiness and vehicle-to-vehicle communications to help to reduce the risks of injury or death in the event of an accident. Although many of these technologies will benefit drivers of all ages, it will ultimately benefit our older, more at-risk drivers. Officials with the NHTSA are also looking into upgrading their New Car Assessment Program, which could potentially include a “Silver” rating system for older occupants.

-Better Crash Data Collection: Officials with the NHTSA are making changes to keep better tabs on the accidents going on along our roadways. They will also be looking more closely at perceptual, cognitive and physical changes that are commonly associated with driver behaviors. Officials will be conducting more driving studies to look into the effects of aging on our driving safety.

-Driver Behavior: NHTSA continues to remind drivers that age is not a determining factor on safe driving habits. Officials will be continuing on their efforts to educate the public about identifying and treating driver hindrances. Part of this effort will include a new Older Driver Highway Safety Program Guidelines.

In 2012, residents over the age of 65 accounted for less than 15 percent of the population but still accounted for about 17 percent of those killed in traffic accidents and about 10 percent of the people who were injured. Take a look at the elderly drivers in your family. If you have safety concerns, don’t hesitate to discuss them. Your concern could save lives.

If you or a loved one is in an accident, contact Jeffrey S. Glassman for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 888-367-2900.

More Blog Entries:

Passengers Have Complaints About High-Risk Driving Behaviors, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 10, 2013

Massachusetts Rules Lead to Drop In Teen Accident Deaths For Surprising Reason, Boston Car Accident Lawyer Blog, December 6, 2013