With a substantial population of baby boomers and retirees, Florida is no stranger to the safety concerns and challenges facing elderly motorists. However, as the number of baby boomers across the country increases, Orlando car accident lawyers expect the state to play host to more numbers of these senior citizens. The American Occupational Therapy Institute is marking December 5 to December 9 as Older Driver Awareness Week. The group is drawing attention to the growing safety concerns facing senior drivers as they age.
In Florida, in 2008, 447 senior motorists above the age 65 were killed in car accidents. These deaths comprised about 15% of all car accident fatalities in the state of Florida. According to a survey by the Florida State University and the Florida Department of Transportation, very few senior drivers plan for the day when they will no longer be able to drive. Most senior drivers believed that they would be able to drive till they die, or firmly believed that they would never have to give up their driving privileges. Approximately 13% of older drivers said that they would never give up driving.
Senior safety concerns are expected to affect Florida the most. The Florida Department of Transportation recently awarded a grant to the Pepper Institute to devise strategies to handle the explosion of senior motorists in the state. The object of the Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan will be to develop strategies that can help reduce the number of accidents involving senior citizens in Florida.
Telling an older driver that his or her driving abilities have begun to diminish and that it's time to give up driving privileges, is not an easy task. For older drivers, driving is one of the last physical activities that they enjoy with complete independence, and not surprisingly, they choose to hang onto these privileges. However, families of older drivers must look out for signs of deteriorating driving abilities. If a senior citizen is becoming increasingly forgetful and confused, takes a long time getting back home after a drive, or shows signs of diminished physical capacity, it may be time for family members to initiate that uncomfortable conversation.