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Accidents Involving Elderly Drivers | Slepkow Law (Tradition since 1932)

A top RI car accident attorney is keenly aware that some elderly drivers pose a significant traffic safety hazard to everyone sharing the roadway. In fact, elder motorists cause more deadly crashes than teenagers who often lack the experience necessary to avoid. In addition, individuals 70 years and older are much less likely to maintain a license to drive when compared to younger individuals.

Rhode Island elderly driving car accident lawyer

According to statistics maintained by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), more than 36 million individuals 65 years and older are licensed to drive in the United States. Operating a motor vehicle helps the elderly maintain their independence and mobility. However, because of the aging process, many senior citizens in the United States have a greater risk of being killed or injured in a motor vehicle crash compared to younger drivers. If you were injured in a RI car crash then contact a RI car accident attorney

Travel information maintained by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that older motorists on the nation’s roadways drive nearly half as many miles on average as other motorist ages 35 to 54. Even so, per miles traveled, drivers 70 years and older have higher fatal crash rates and accident rates than other drivers in every age group. There are numerous reasons why senior drivers have a higher propensity of being involved in a serious car accident with injuries and fatalities.

Some of these reasons include:

Here are some of the primary reasons that seniors and the elderly are more susceptible to a car accident in Rhode Island.

Limited mobility and extensive medical problems – Many senior citizens 70 years and older suffer from arthritis which is a crippling inflammation of the body’s joints. The extensive medical problems usually make turning, twisting and flexing the arms, hands and legs extremely painful.

Limited Range of Motion – Senior drivers tend to have weaker muscles and a limited range of motion. The reduced flexibility in their hands and arms makes it challenging to grip the steering wheel to turn the vehicle or to apply the brakes and accelerator or reach to open windows and doors.

Prescription Medication Use – Many senior citizens take one or more prescription medications, some of which have an adverse effect on their driving performance.

Increased Fatality Rates – Because of medical complications and associated risks of healing from an injury, senior drivers have a greater chance of dying from an accident-related injury and an increased tendency to be involved in a crash.

Preventing Injuries and Death which would necessitate a RI car accident attorney

There are three protective steps than any senior driver can take to improve safety and diminish their rates of accidents with injuries or death. Some of these include:

1. Seat Belt Use – Utilizing a seatbelt when driving can minimize the amount of injury the senior driver with experience when involved in an accident.

2. Driving When Conditions Are Best – Senior drivers who limit their travel to good weather and daylight driving can significantly decrease their potential of being injured in an accident.

3. Avoid Impaired Driving – Senior drivers are less likely to drive under the influence of alcohol or drugs, which can minimize their chances of being in a serious accident.


Self-regulating one’s ability to maintain safety on the roadway is a double edge sword for many senior drivers. Even though the driving skills of an elderly individual decline with age, many older drivers adapt their driving behavior to compensate for the declining confidence they have to operate their vehicles.  An RI car accident attorney is well aware of the complexities of the issues facing seniors and their victims. However, self-regulation can work against them when they are unwilling or unable to make adaptive changes or develop new habits to maintain safety on the roadway.

Fortunately, self-regulating one’s ability to drive at an older age tends to increase the amount of older drivers who simply choose to give up driving in its entirety. By removing drivers who have difficulty operating their vehicle from the pool of older motorists leaves behind senior drivers who can operate their vehicles comparatively well.

Injured in an auto accident in Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, call RI car accident attorney, David Slepkow.