This week is Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. We all know older people: They are our next-door neighbors, friends, parents, grandparents, and great-grandparents. According to the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA), there are special safety concerns when it comes to older drivers. During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, NHTSA along with its partners such as the AARP, AAA, and the CDC, are recommending that family and friends talk to older drivers about a “transportation plan,” which is similar to assisting an older family member or loved one to plan for retirement.
There are obviously some motorists who can drive safely as they get older even when they are in their eighties or nineties. However, as drivers age medical conditions can become a concern, including issues related to eyesight, sleep, coordination, and memory. When such problems exist, driving may become a more dangerous endeavor. NHTSA advises that some or all of the following questions be asked of yourself or the older driver you are assisting:
-Are you able to remember routes you frequently drive in and around your home?
-Do you have a feeling of being overwhelmed while driving due to the traffic signals and signs that you are required to obey?
-Have you recently been cited or received a ticket for committing a moving violation?
-Have you been involved in a recent motor vehicle accident?
If you answered yes to any of the above questions, you may want to consider further evaluation of whether or not it is prudent and advisable for you to drive. In such a case, older drivers should be encouraged to talk to their family members, trusted friends and doctors for advice.
Because many older people take multiple medications (prescribed and/or over-the-counter) and because some medications and/or combination of drugs can have side effects, including, but not limited, to making a person drowsy, impairing their judgment and/or reducing their reflexes, consultation with the driver’s family physician or pharmacist is advised since their doctor or pharmacist can determine if the medications being taken by an older driver affect their ability to drive safely.
The bottom line according to NHTSA is that legal drivers of all ages should have the freedom to travel as they would like, but only if they can safely do so. This is the perfect time to get the word out to friends and family members of older drivers to take an active interest in the driving needs of such drivers and assist them if warranted. Even pointing an older driver in the right direction can be of great benefit. NHTSA has available free educational resources or older drivers and caretakers of older drivers, which can be found at www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/older-drivers.
The lawyers at Liever, Hyman & Potter, P.C., are concerned for the safety of the motoring public on the roads and highways in Berks County and Schuylkill County, and serve auto, truck and motorcycle accident victims and their families in Reading, PA, Pottsville, PA, and throughout Central and Eastern Pennsylvania, including Philadelphia. The lawyers at the firm handle personal injury claims, including claims for serious injuries and wrongful death caused by the negligence of other vehicle operators.
From the desk of Adam K. Levin, Esquire