Elderly Drivers: How Old Is Too Old to Drive?

As life expectancy continues to increase each year in the United States, more and more families will have seniors in their lives whom they will be watching out for. Even if the seniors in your life are still independent, it is a normal reaction to be concerned about their overall safety. In many cases, they may need some level of assistance, which they are more than likely reluctant to admit to. One of the most frequent issues that come up in these situations is driving. Many elderly drivers equate their ability to drive themselves to appointments, errands, and social events with their independence. But driving requires certain skills that tend to be affected as we age. This often leads to the question as to how old is too old to drive.

The answer to that question varies with each individual. The ability to drive really depends on the driver’s physical and mental fitness and whether or not they are suffering from any medical conditions that could affect their ability. Some of the common factors that could indicate that your elderly loved one may be at risk if they are driving include:

  • If they are taking medications that leave them with dangerous side effects, such as causing confusion or drowsiness.
  • If they have suffered any type of hearing loss which could leave them oblivious to sounds that indicate a driving danger, such as screeching tires, sirens, or vehicle horns.
  • If they have suffered any vision issues which could affect depth perception
  • If their reaction time has slowed down which could affect how they respond to sudden issues on the road.
  • If they have developed a decrease in their cognitive abilities, leading to an impact of judgment and risk of driving errors.

If you feel that there may be dangers in your elderly loved one still driving, it is important to discuss your concerns with them in a way that they will not feel threatened or put them on the defensive. One helpful tool, developed by AAA, is a self-rating quiz the senior can take which will help them to see if they have issues that indicate they should no longer be driving. The quiz is comprised of 15 questions, such as whether the senior always uses their turn signals, if they have slower reaction times, and if they are uncomfortable in intersections. Once all questions are answered, the senior adds up the score, which will provide them the answer as to whether or not there are concerns about their driving abilities.

Contact a Carolinas Accident Attorney for Assistance

If you or a loved one has been injured in a crash because of another driver’s negligent behavior, contact a North Carolina car accident attorney to see what type of financial compensation you may be entitled to for the losses the injuries have caused.

The legal team at Shapiro, Washburn & Sharp has been advocating for injured clients since 1985 and will do all we can to ensure you receive the best possible outcome under the circumstances of your case. If you would like to meet with one of our skilled North Carolina car accident attorneys to find out how we can help, call us today to schedule a confidential and free case evaluation.