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Older Drivers and Driving Statistics

older driversThree Missouri residents were injured in a two-vehicle accident that occurred on Missouri Route 25. The accident occurred in Dunklin County on June 4, 2012 at 11:55am.

James F. Reynolds, age 62, was traveling southbound on Route 25 in his 2003 Dodge Ram. He was also traveling with Judy A. Reynolds, age 60, during this time. At the same time, Floy D. Weinert, age 76, was traveling northbound on Route in her 2008 Toyota Corrolla. Eventually, Weinert attempted to make a left turn on an unspecified street. However, Weinert traveled into the path of Reynolds’s vehicle during the turn. Reynolds could not stop the vehicle in time and the two vehicles collided with each other. Both vehicles suffered total damage as a result of the accident.

Missouri State Highway Patrol responded thereafter. James Reynolds and Floy Weinert sustained minor injuries due to the accident. However, Judy Reynolds sustained moderate injuries. All parties were immediately transported to Twin Rivers Medical Center in Kennett, Missouri in Dunklin County by ambulance.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration notes a distressing trend concerning older drivers in terms of injury and fatality statistics. In 2009, close to 5,000 individuals who were above the age of 65 were car accident fatalities across the nation. Past studies held this total to be around 16% of all traffic fatalities and close to 8% of all people injured in vehicle accidents during 2009. Nothing in these studies implies that older drivers cause more accidents. In December 2010, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration initiated a Five-Year “Older Driver Program” meant to run from 2012 to 2017. This program is meant to account for the increasing population of older drivers across the nation and is meant to both address the needs of older drivers and to decrease injury and fatality rates for all drivers. The program encourages roadway reforms such as making better or more visible signs or making more protected left turn lanes.

The program highlights a fundamental distinction between “medically at-risk drivers” and “healthy older drivers.” The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has expressed that it does not want to trigger legislative reform that would instead be more restrictive for older drivers.

Older drivers must not only adhere to the rules of the road, but must also be certain that they are not “medically at-risk” drivers. A driver who operates a vehicle while medically at-risk could be liable to any victims in a Missouri car accident lawsuit if the medical condition was shown to have “caused” the accident. Since older drivers are likely to be involved in a Missouri car accident beyond their control, victims should nonetheless contact a Missouri car accident lawyer for more information.