Elderly Drivers Cause More Accidents than Teen Drivers
On a national level, elderly drivers get into more fatal motor vehicle accidents than do teenagers. In 2009, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there were over 45,000 fatal motor vehicle accidents and of those, 12% were caused by drivers 65 years of age or older. In that same year, it was reported that older drivers were involved in 9% of all fatal motor vehicle accidents in Connecticut. These accidents are largely the result of driver illness or perceptual stimulus overload.
No Special Testing Requirements for Elderly Drivers
In Connecticut, there are no special testing requirements or restrictions that apply to elderly drivers although anyone 65 years of age or older must renew his or her license for a two-year period of time rather than the usual six-year period of time pursuant to Connecticut General Statute section 14 – 41 a.
Healthcare Reporting of Affected Elderly Drivers
Further, pursuant to Connecticut General Statute section 14 – 46 certain healthcare providers are authorized to report to the Connecticut DMV, in writing, the name, age, and address of anyone that the medical professional determines to have a chronic health problem that would significantly affect the driver’s ability to drive or experiences recurrent periods of unconsciousness which are uncontrolled by medical treatment. These reports are confidential and can be only used to determine whether or not somebody is eligible to drive and no civil action may be brought against someone providing such report, in good faith.
Police Officer License Revocation
Additionally, a police officer is authorized to revoke a driver’s license because of medical concerns which generally involve an elderly driver. The state has a process by which it will evaluate the driver’s ability to operate a motor vehicle and then a final review will be made by the Connecticut DMV’s medical advisory board which will determine whether to suspend or permanently revoke a person’s driver’s license based, in part, upon their medical history.
Family Member Involvement
Practically speaking, the decision to stop driving is usually made by the elderly driver and his or her family members. This obviously is a difficult decision and sometimes it is best to involve the healthcare professionals to help convince the elderly person that it is time to stop driving.
Signs to Consider
In making this determination some signs to consider might include some or all of the following:
- difficulty seeing or hearing;
- getting lost or being unfamiliar with certain locations;
- difficulty in parking or backing up;
- having minor fender benders or close calls;
- becoming easily distracted;
- appearing very anxious while operating a motor vehicle; poor reaction time;
- difficulty in turning one’s head from side to side; or
- decreased health which affects the elderly person’s ability to properly operate a motor vehicle.
Unfortunately, we have represented a number of clients who have been seriously injured in accidents involving elderly drivers. These well-meaning senior citizens cause accidents based upon the risks and complications that they experience in driving a motor vehicle when they really should not be out on the roadways. If you have been involved in an elderly driving accident in Connecticut, please click here.