In a new study by the AAA Foundation, older drivers with at least one falling episode are more likely to be in a car crash than peers in the same age group who have not fallen.
Decreased driving ability due to injuries in older drivers with fall histories can make it more dangerous for pedestrians and cyclists and other motorists as well.
Although most collisions are linked to distracted driving, driving while impaired and defective car parts, AAA research reveals senior citizens with fall histories as a new threat to highway safety for all motorists. With older drivers involved in more than 400,000 crashes annually, preventing falls takes precedence among this age group.
AAA Report Findings
The AAA Foundation study looked at seniors age 60 or more who had fallen within the last three years. Research showed two different ways falling can increase the chance of an older driver crashing a car:
- Falls can cause a loss of functional ability. For example, a senior driver who injures a leg may not be able to brake well.
- Older people who have fallen before may have a heightened fear of falling. This fear may inhibit seniors from being physical active, which can diminish driving abilities.
Jake Nelson, Director of AAA Traffic Safety, explains that falls can scare older people into inactivity, and it is this diminished activity that can make muscles and coordination weaker, increasing the person’s crash risk.
Falling and Crash Consequences
Since there is a record 12 million older people who fall per year in the U.S., there is a significant need for fall prevention to minimize crashes.
For family members concerned about an older loved one’s fall risk, it is important to address general health risks such as medications, vision, weakness or balance issues.
At The Edwards Law Firm, we care about your injuries caused by a negligent driver. Contact us today to speak with an experienced auto accident attorney who will work diligently on your behalf.