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Mature drivers pose risks for serious car accidents

Drivers of all ages populate Virginia's highways. From young teen drivers who have just received their driver's licenses, to elderly drivers who have been driving for decades, there is a wide variety of drivers on the road at any one time. Each of these population segments poses unique risks for accidents. While experience can be beneficial behind the wheel, elderly or mature drivers who have been driving for many years nonetheless may have characteristics that may make them more likely to contribute to dangerous car accidents.

According to the Governors Highway Safety Association, mature drivers are those who are aged 65 or older. Due to their age, mature drivers can have impairments that may affect their ability to drive safely. Vision impairments in older drivers may lead to auto accidents if a driver does not have an adequate field of vision or cannot adjust quickly to changing light levels while driving.

Driving is also a physical activity, requiring flexibility, endurance and muscle strength to view traffic conditions and operate a heavy motor vehicle. An elderly driver who has reduced muscle function may not be able to respond to road conditions as quickly as a younger driver, which can also lead to accidents. Of course, driving also requires a person's full cognitive attention, including not only visual processing, but also memory and attention skills. Cognitive functioning in elderly drivers may decline as a driver ages which can have an impact on a person's ability to drive safely.

Mature drivers are involved in more car collisions per mile driven than middle-aged drivers. Their reduced vision, cognitive and motor function abilities contribute to this unfortunate reality. If you have been the victim of a car accident due to the negligence of a mature driver, you may be entitled to financial recovery. A lawyer may be able to provide assistance.

Source: ghsa.org, "Mature Drivers," accessed Sept. 2, 2016

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