Falls Raise Car Accident Risks in Older Adults

older-driverAccording to a new study conducted by the AAA Foundation, older drivers who have experienced one or more falling episodes are more likely to crash their vehicles, as opposed to motorists in the same age group who have not experienced a fall.

Because falling can induce injuries that impact driving ability, older drivers who have fallen may be more dangerous to pedestrians and motorists.

While the majority of accidents are associated with distracted driving, defective vehicle technology, and impaired driving, the AAA study shed light on a new contributing factor to the recent rise in automobile accidents; senior citizens are responsible for more than 400,000 collisions annually.

AAA Foundation Report Results

AAA’s study focused on drivers who were 60 years of age or older and who had at least one incidence of falling within the past three years. The study identified two distinct ways in which falling can raise a senior citizen’s risk of crashing their vehicle:

  • Older adults who fall may lose functional ability. For example, if a senior citizen breaks their leg, they may have difficulty braking.
  • Falls may induce a fear of falling in older drivers. Fearing they may fall again, seniors are likely to withdraw from physical activity that is necessary to maintain adequate driving skills.

Peter Kissinger, President of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, believes the results of this study are important because a senior’s fall history can indicate if they are more at risk for a collision.

Crash Consequences Related to Falls

With 12 million aging adults experiencing a fall every year, more focus may need to be placed on fall prevention for older Americans. According to Jake Nelson, Director of AAA’s Traffic Safety, physical activity must be conducted on a regular basis, or an individual risks losing their strength and capabilities. Decreased physical activity can make muscles weaker and slow a driver’s response time when behind the wheel.

Family members and caregivers should be aware that falls may indicate decreasing overall physical health in their elderly loved ones. By addressing potential concerns such as physical weakness, delayed reaction times, eyesight problems and shaky balance, senior drivers may boost their health and reduce their chances of falling, which in turn can reduce their chances of being involved in a motor vehicle accident.

If you or someone you love one has been injured in a hazardous car crash, call the experienced auto accident attorneys at Phillips Law Group right away to schedule your free legal consultation.

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