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History of Falling Increases an Older Driver’s Risk of Crashing

Posted on behalf of D'Amico & Pettinicchi, LLC on Mar 31, 2016 in Car Accidents

falls increase accident risksA new study from the AAA Foundation for Safety suggests that older drivers with a history of falling are more likely to be involved in an auto accident. Drivers who have fallen have a 40 percent higher risk of crashing when compared to peers who do not have a history of falling.

The report analyzed the association between falls and driving outcomes. Altogether, more than 15 previously published studies were analyzed. The studies included drivers over the age of 55.

Falls were found to cause a loss of functional ability as a result of injuries, such as a broken wrist, which can make it difficult for older drivers to maneuver their vehicles. Additionally, after an elderly person falls, their fear of falling again decreases their physical activity, which weakens their driving skills.

Limited evidence from the studies also suggest that falls could be associated with accident-related injuries, hospitalizations and death.

However, there was no evidence to suggest that falls limited a motorist's ability to perform certain tasks, such as a U-turn, or that older motorists avoided driving under certain conditions like bad weather.

Drivers over the age of 60 are involved in more than 400,000 accidents each year. Fall prevention is one way for older drivers to keep themselves safe on the road. Caretakers should also monitor risk factors to keep their loved ones safe from falls at home.

Furthermore, low impact fitness training, exercising and stretching can also help older drivers prevent automotive accidents.

The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety has launched a study, the Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers, to gather data on senior driving risks and develop effective counter measures. As the elderly population is expected to continue to grow, it is important to recognize any signs that your loved one may no longer be able to drive safely.

Talking with an older person about their driving can be difficult, but by avoiding confrontation, being prepared, and focusing on safety and maintaining independence, you can help protect your loved ones from potential danger.