Twenty percent of drivers will be at least 65 years old by 2025. Currently, Missouri has more than 700,000 drivers who are age 65 or older.

Auto accidents involving drivers in this demographic occur with more frequency than average, a new study has found. Although older drivers represent 8 percent of the miles driven, they are involved in 17 percent of fatal accidents. In Missouri, more than 150 such accidents occurred in 2010.

The study, by two transportation groups, showed that older drivers are particularly vulnerable at intersections. Twenty percent of fatal accidents involving younger drivers occurred at intersections, but 37 percent of fatal accidents involving older drivers happened at intersections. This is probably because it becomes more difficult to judge speed and distance with age.

Although 65 is the age at which accidents sharply increase, the mid-70s and 80s see an even greater surge. As a person’s age increases, his or her reaction time, dexterity and vision decrease. For example, night driving may become more difficult with advanced age.

Remedies for People Injured in Missouri Car Accidents

People who have been injured in a car accident caused by an elderly driver may seek damages. Through negotiations or trial, the injured party may secure compensation for medical bills, lost wages, and pain and suffering.

The injuries that can arise from a car crash are serious, including brain injuries, spinal cord injuries and broken bones. Wrongful death may occur as a consequence of a crash with an older driver.

Some states, including Missouri, are working to make the roads friendlier toward the aging population. This can mean larger letters on road signs, rumble strips, reflective pavement markers and improved lighting.

All drivers, whether they belong to the baby boom generation or not, should be more alert on the road as they age. Of equal importance, is recognizing when it is no longer safe to continue driving.

Source: The Kansas City Star, “Older baby boomers drive less safely, new numbers show,” Donald Bradley, Feb. 22, 2012.