Giving up one’s license can be a very difficult decision – this is especially true with senior drivers in Florida. However, there is a time in everyone’s life when it becomes unsafe for an individual to continue driving. Unfortunately, coming to this realization for many is a hard pill to swallow. Some people do not realize this, or they just wish to continue driving for as long as they think they can. Although fatal car accidents and injuries do not discriminate based on the age of an individual, consumer reports have revealed that senior citizens age 80 and above face as much as 6 times more fatal accident risks than younger motorists.
Although elderly drivers are generally more cautious, they may have some unavoidable common traits that expose them to the risk of car accidents. While there are no retesting requirements for elderly drivers in Florida, they do have to pass a vision test before their license can be renewed. Since this requirement was instituted in 2004, elderly drivers in Florida can either get their vision test done for free at a license office or seek the help of a medical professional to administer one.A more concerning fact that is that it is still possible for a senior citizen to have great vision while still suffering from conditions that could put them and others in harm’s way.
These conditions or characteristics may include:
Navigating through complex situations can be especially difficult for senior citizens. It has been revealed that at least 80% of individuals in their 70’s suffer from conditions such as arthritis, flexing issues, and painful twisting. This limited mobility makes steering quickly, checking blind spots adequately, or maneuvering correctly in accident situations more difficult.
With over two-thirds of the elderly on at least five or more medications daily, the abilities of a driver can be compromised at crucial times. This could occur because of side effects of the medications which could include drowsiness or disorientation. Additionally, combining prescription medications with other drugs can cause unique reactions, making the judgment of a driver unpredictable which is often the case with elders daily regimen.
Other limiting conditions may include poor hearing, declining cognitive abilities, and other age-related illnesses. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, there are over 36 million licensed senior citizens aged 65 and above on the roads. With a reasonable number of these persons in Florida, care must be taken to minimize the risks they are exposed to. The ability of an elderly driver may differ from another, as such, it would be ideal for all senior citizens to be fully aware of their strengths and limitations, so they can take steps towards avoiding unpleasant road incidents.