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More senior drivers hit the road, so federal government steps up

The driving demographics of Hackensack are changing. No more is driving the sport of the young; rather, there are more and more older drivers on the road. While the jokes and stereotypes about senior drivers may not always be accurate, older drivers can certainly be at-risk drivers. They may not be speeding or texting behind the wheel, but they cause a significant number of accidents and driver injuries every year.

In an effort to curb these accidents, the federal government has recently announced plans to improve senior driver safety. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has launched a five-year initiative designed to improve road safety for all drivers.

One part of this initiative is to monitor older drivers and collect information on how drivers’ perceptual, physical and cognitive abilities change over time. The goal is to be able to identify what causes a relatively safe driver to become a dangerous, at-risk senior driver. Perhaps it is changes in strength and flexibility, perhaps worsening eyesight, or maybe increased confusion. Whatever it may be, the Administration hopes to identify and educate on the issues.

Unfortunately, all of this will take time. Until there are widespread changes, however, the ever-increasing number of seniors on the road could be causing accidents, injuries or even death. Fortunately, anyone who is injured can work with his or her personal injury attorney to determine whether a lawsuit is possible or prudent. Holding a driver responsible for negligent or at-risk driving, even if she looks like a sweet grandmother, may be the only way for an injured motorist to receive compensation.

Source: USA Today, “Feds making new rules for senior drivers,” Matt Schmitz, Dec. 8, 2013

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