Though the common stereotype of aging drivers is that of a slow and excessively careful operator, the reality is quite different. According to data collected by the Georgia Governor’s Office of Highway Safety, older drivers are disproportionately represented when it comes to motor vehicle fatalities, even higher than teenagers, with 20 percent of all occupant fatalities associated with older drivers (age 65 or older) in 2012 alone.
Older drivers represent such a significant risk to others — and to themselves — that Georgia has implemented a number of programs designed to improve roadway safety, specifically targeted at older drivers. The Older Driver Safety Program, for example, involves multi-disciplinary partners in public health, traffic engineering, and automobile safety, and aims to keep older drivers apprised of how to handle their vehicles in a safe manner despite their various limitations (i.e., through CarFit safety events and driver safety courses available to seniors).
Many people injured by aging drivers are unsure of whether they can bring a claim against a senior — they may believe that a driver who simply makes a “mistake” due to their age is shielded from liability. This is untrue, however. All drivers must act with reasonable care when operating their vehicles. A failure to adhere to the standard of care constitutes negligence, and may expose the driver to civil liability.
Aging Drivers Represent a Significant Risk
Aging drivers may represent a significant, heightened risk of injury to others. Risk factors include, but are not necessarily limited, to:
- Inability to accurately determine distance between vehicles
- Slow reaction times
- Inability to make safe driving decisions while processing intense stimuli, such as rain/snow and darkness
- Extreme and unexpected acceleration and deceleration
- Delayed turns and lane merges
- Failure to adhere to signage
- And more
Aging drivers must make reasonable efforts to minimize the risk of injury when they operate their vehicles. If the driver suffers from vision issues, they must ensure that they are wearing glasses or contact lenses before getting on the road. Similarly, if the driver requires a hearing aid, it could be dangerous for them to operate their vehicle without it.
Consult with an Experienced Atlanta Car Accident Attorney Today
Here at Ponton Law, we have represented clients in a range of personal injury litigation, including car accident lawsuits. Attorney James Ponton has fought for clients on either side of litigation — having initially served as insurance defense counsel, he has now spent a decade representing the interests of injured plaintiffs. His experiences have given him unique insight into the litigation strategy used by defendants in complex car accident and personal injury lawsuits, and this perspective has led to significant success. Since 2012, Attorney Ponton has secured substantial damages for his clients, up to $2.5 million in a single case.
Have you been injured in a car accident with an aging driver? You may be entitled to recover damages pursuant to Georgia law. Call (404) 418-8507 to get connected to an experienced Atlanta car accident attorney here at Ponton Law. During your initial, free consultation, we will evaluate your claims and develop a strategy for moving forward with your case.