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Seniors at the Wheel: Elderly Drivers and Car Accidents

Car Accident Attorney Serving Santa Monica, CA

Carolyn, a car accident client of the firm.

It would be unfair to say that all elderly drivers are unable to drive safely. However, age can have a definite impact on motor and mental function, making it unsafe for some older drivers to take to the road.

The tragic Santa Monica farmer’s market accident in 2003 brought into focus the potential danger of elderly drivers. An 86-year-old driver mistakenly stepped on the gas instead of the brake, and plowed through a crowded farmer’s market, killing ten people. The National Transportation of Safety Board (NTSB) concluded that the accident was the result of driver error, but also put fault on the City of Santa Monica. According to the NTSB, the accident may have been less severe if removable concrete barricades had been in place.

If you have been involved in a car accident in the Santa Monica area with an elderly driver, we can help. At McGee, Lerer & Associates, we are committed to representing clients who have been injured in car accidents. If you were injured in a collision, please feel free to call a Santa Monica personal injury lawyer at our offices at your earliest convenience. We offer a free, confidential consultation to discuss your case and concerns. If an elderly driver was to blame, we will take the appropriate action to seek complete financial compensation for your medical care, lost wages and all other losses or expenses you have experienced.

Elderly Driver Car Accident Statistics

There were 32 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in 2008, a 20% increase from 1999. These numbers are only expected to increase over the next 20 years.

The NHTSA (National Highway Traffic Safety Administration) has compiled some interesting statistics related to car accidents and elderly drivers, drivers aged 65 years and older. The following are nationwide statistics from 2009:

  • 16% of all traffic fatalities were among people aged 65 years and older.
  • Most of these fatalities occurred during the daytime (81%), on weekdays (71%) and involved other vehicles (69%).
  • Older drivers involved in fatal car accidents had the lowest percentage (5%) of drivers with unlawful blood alcohol concentrations of .08% or greater.

Injured in a Santa Monica car accident caused by an elderly driver?

There are specific factors that may increase the likelihood of an elderly driver causing or becoming involved in a collision. Hearing and vision problems may affect a driver's ability to see clearly and to hear horns or sirens. Muscle and joint problems may impair a driver's ability to check blind spots or react quickly to an emergency situation. Medication for diabetes, heart conditions or other medical problems may cause serious side effects that impair a driver's abilities. Though old age does not automatically make a driver responsible for a collision, it may provide cause for concern.

When you work with an attorney at our Santa Monica firm, we will carefully investigate the circumstances that led to your accident to determine whether the elderly driver was responsible. If this is the case, we will seek evidence to prove this in order to pursue the monetary damages you deserve.

Worried about an elderly person's driving abilities?

The DMV offers a Request for Driver Reexamination form (form DS 699) for those who are concerned about an elderly person's ability to drive. You can report the driver by downloading & completing the form from the California DMV website. Upon request, the DMV will not divulge your name to the driver who's being reported. The DMV states that they will honor confidentiality to the best of their abilities.

Learn more about how we can help with a claim against an elderly driver – contact a Santa Monica car accident lawyer at our firm.