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Do Older Drivers Really Cause More Illinois Auto Accidents?

According to Caring.org, Illinois has special rules for senior drivers in order to make sure that elderly residents are still capable of driving safely. The law mandates that drivers between the ages of 69 and 80 have to renew their license every four years and that drivers between the ages of 80 to 86 need to renew every two years. Once a driver is 87 or older, he or she is required to renew his license each year. Drivers ages 74 and up are also prohibited from renewing by mail and once they turn 75 and must pass a road test to get a new license.

Our Oak Park accident attorneys know that these special rules for senior drivers exist because older drivers may be less capable of driving safely. Seniors can start to have slower reflexes, impaired vision, and cognitive problems that make driving difficult or even impossible. Because older drivers may become impaired, there is a lot of concern about whether these drivers present a significant risk on the roads.

Are Older Drivers Really a Danger on the Roadways?

The population in the U.S. is rapidly aging, which is causing some concern because the makeup of drivers on the road is changing along with the demographic shifts in the United States. In fact, according to a recent article in Your West Valley, one driver out of every five in the United States is going to be a senior aged 65 or up by 2030. This means that there are going to be a lot of older people on the road.

If older people are more dangerous behind the wheel, this changing makeup of the driving population could spell disaster since there would likely be far more accidents due to more older drivers. However, the Your West Valley article suggests that elderly motorists may actually not be so dangerous after all. Taking a look at some myths and facts about older drivers, the writer for AAA indicates in the article that:

  • Seniors ages 64 to 69 are statistically the safest drivers on the road and are less likely than other age groups to get involved in car wrecks. 
  • Senior citizens are much less likely than their younger counterparts to make risky driving choices such as getting behind the wheel drunk or driving when they are too tired to be safe.
  • Seniors are more likely than most other drivers to buckle their seat belts. This goes for both seniors who are driving themselves and for seniors who are passengers in other people's cars. While only around 63 percent of all adult drivers have indicated that they buckle up regularly when in the car, a full 77 percent of senior drivers said that they always wear their belts. These seniors set a good example for younger drivers too, which can bring the overall car accident fatality rate down.

When taking a look at these facts and myths about senior drivers, there is plenty of reason to believe that an aging population of motorists might actually end up making the streets safer rather than more risky. Of course, this depends upon seniors making the smart choice to stop driving when they are no longer physically or mentally capable of doing so safely.

If you were injured in a car accident in the Chicago area, contact Coplan & Crane at 800-394-6002 or visit our Oak Park office.