Florida, a state renowned for its stunning coastlines and lively culture, is also recognized for its substantial elderly population. With over 18% of its residents aged 65 and above, Florida faces unique challenges in ensuring the safety of its senior drivers. This blog post explores the reasons
elderly drivers, safety tips, and what to do if you’re in a
auto accidents involving elderly drivers in Florida, with a focus on safety initiatives and liability considerations.
Elderly Drivers and Accidents: A Growing Issue
According to a report by the Florida Department of Transportation, fatal crashes involving seniors aged 65 and above are increasing. The report indicates that the risk of a fatal crash rises with age. Alarmingly, drivers aged 65 and above are twice as likely to be involved in a fatal accident compared to other age groups.
In 2020, 71% of fatalities in crashes involving drivers aged 70 or above were either the elderly drivers themselves (59%) or their older passengers (12%).
Causes of Accidents With Senior Drivers
Accidents involving elderly drivers can occur due to a multitude of reasons. Some of the most common causes include:
- Neglecting to stop at a red light or stop sign.
- Executing improper left turns.
- Driving at a speed significantly below the limit.
- Causing traffic disruptions by braking unexpectedly and tailgating.
- Misjudging distances and changing lanes improperly.
- Driving in the wrong direction on roads or in parking lots.
- Failing to yield to pedestrians at crosswalks and intersections.
Safety Initiatives in Florida
In response to these troubling statistics, Florida has introduced several safety initiatives aimed specifically at older drivers. These include:
- License Renewal Regulations: Drivers aged 80 and above must renew their licenses every six years, while those aged 79 and below are eligible for eight-year licenses.
- Vision Examination: Drivers aged 80 and above must undergo a vision test at the time of license renewal.
- License Restrictions: The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (DHSMV) can impose restrictions or conditions on a person’s driver’s license after conducting a driving test. These restrictions may include requiring an additional left-side rearview mirror on a vehicle, prohibiting nighttime driving, and mandating the use of hearing aids while driving.
Florida is a no-fault state. Personal Injury Protection (PIP) insurance is mandatory for all registered vehicles in Florida. PIP insurance covers medical expenses and lost wages for the policyholder, passengers, and pedestrians involved in a car accident, regardless of fault.
However, PIP coverage has limits, and for serious injuries or damages exceeding those limits, additional legal action may be necessary. In situations where the damages exceed the limits of PIP coverage or in cases of severe injuries, fault becomes a crucial factor.
Florida follows a “comparative fault” system, which means that each party involved in an accident can be assigned a percentage of fault based on their contribution to the incident. The compensation awarded to each party is then adjusted according to their percentage of fault.
Florida enacted a modified comparative negligence law that went into effect in March 2023. This means that if a jury finds an accident victim to be more than 50%, the victim cannot recover damages.
Safety Tips for Senior Drivers
Implementing preventive strategies can significantly reduce the risk of accidents involving elderly drivers. These strategies include:
- Always wear a seat belt.
- Drive during daylight and in good weather.
- Avoid drinking and driving.
- Follow a regular activity program to increase strength and flexibility.
- Have your eyes checked by an eye doctor at least once a year.
- Plan routes before driving
- Maintain a safe following distance between cars
- Avoid distractions in the car.
Call Our Car Accident Lawyers in Hollywood, Florida Today!
Despite Florida’s significant efforts to ensure the safety of elderly drivers on the road, the increasing number of fatal crashes involving this demographic suggests that there is still much to be done. Both the state and individuals need to recognize the signs when it’s time for a senior to give up their license and consider alternative transportation options.
Contact the Klotzman Law Firm at 954-915-7405 for assistance after a car accident involving an elderly driver. We offer a free case review. Our accident lawyers in Hollywood, Florida are dedicated to helping accident victims get the compensation they deserve.