Statistics for 2015 show that there were 385,222 car crashes in Georgia. Of those crashes, 19,405 involved serious injury and 1,430 involved fatalities. Cobb County had three percent of the fatalities at 49. Not surprisingly, the fatal car wrecks in Cobb County are clustered along the main interstates such as I-75.
Among the causes of many accidents is senior and elderly drivers with age-related impairments. According to the American Association of Retired Persons, when measured by crashes per mile driven, data shows a substantial rise in crashes by drivers over age 70. This the result of natural declines in mental, physical and visual acuity as we age. Further, as reported, the American Automobile Association (“AAA”) says that “a typical driver makes 20 decisions per mile and has less than a half second to react quickly enough to avoid a traffic accident. Age affects the three essential steps involved in that reaction process: sensing, deciding and acting.” These three essential functions decline naturally as we age.
Elderly drivers have an enhanced duty to be more careful when driving — and even to avoid driving under various conditions that increase risks to others on the road. If you have been the victim of careless driving by a driver on the roads of Acworth, you need to contact skilled and courtroom-tested Acworth car accident lawyers.
Acworth Car Accidents: Driving Impairment — Mental Deficiency and Confusion
One famous headline from several years ago claimed that “Elderly Drivers Cause More Deadly Crashes Than Teens.” That is not true by any measure, but driving impairment among older drivers is a major concern. As mentioned above, mental facilities decline as we get older. This can lead to confusion and disorientation which can be very dangerous when getting behind the wheel.
For example, a 66 year-old driver from Marietta was killed by his own car in what Cobb County police called a “bizarre accident.” The driver was trying to park his 1992 Lincoln Town Car, but became confused and somehow put the vehicle in reverse. Then apparently he became more disoriented and pushed the accelerator instead of the brake. As the car was throttling down the driveway, it collided with utility pole wires and began to arc and turn. At some point, the senior driver was thrown out of the open door and was run over by the out-of-control car. Worse yet, the car continued forward, hit a tree and then rolled backwards down the grade and ran over the driver again. Cobb County police said the driver was pronounced dead at the scene.
In another example from 2014 when one Cerritos resident was killed when an elderly driver of an SUV crashed at a Farrell’s Ice Cream Parlour in Buena Park. The victim was just sitting on a bench outside of the restaurant the the vehicle slammed into her. She pinned between the car and gate outside of the restaurant. She was pronounced dead shortly after the wreck. The elderly driver struck several other people too and, at least five were hospitalized with injuries. Buena Park Police stated: “It looks like an unfortunate incident… perhaps someone who hit the accelerator instead of the brake.”
Acworth Car Accidents: Driving Impairment — Loss of Visual Acuity
Another major cause of wrecks and crashes caused by the elder is loss of visual acuity. It is well-known that many people lose their visual acuity as time progresses. This causes the need for glasses or contacts as we reach middle-age. Among senior and elderly drivers, the loss of vision can create serious risks and dangers when they are operating motor vehicles. Aside from being able to read traffic signs and warnings, loss of visual acuity leads to other dangers. The NHTSA reports that older drivers often struggle to detect stationary objects and have more difficulty with depth perception. The decrease in vision is particularly dangerous at night. As reported:
“… the retina of an 80-year-old receives far less light than the retina of a 20-year-old. This can make older drivers function as though they are wearing dark sunglasses at night.”
Recognizing this fact, Georgia requires drivers over the age of 64 to take a vision test and, under some circumstances, may also have to submit a medical report saying they are healthy and fit for driving.
Acworth Car Accidents: Driving Impairment Medication
Another common concern with elderly drivers is impairment caused by medication. The AAA reports these facts:
- Fifty percent of the middle-aged population and 80 percent of people in their 70s suffer from arthritis, crippling inflammation of the joints, which makes turning, flexing and twisting painful.
- Weaker muscles, reduced flexibility and limited range of motion restrict senior drivers’ ability to grip and turn the steering wheel, press the accelerator or brake, or reach to open doors and windows.
- More than 75 percent of drivers age 65 or older report using one or more medications, but less than one-third acknowledged awareness of the potential impact of the medications on driving performance.
Driving impairment due to prescribed medications is particularly dangerous and is, in many ways, just as dangerous as driving under the influence of alcohol and/or illegal drugs. Some medications have serious side effects including confusion, dizziness, nausea, drowsiness which — alone or in combination — may cause the same ill effects as alcohol including impairment of judgment, loss of focus, reduction in reaction time, and of concentration.
Acworth Car Accidents: Compensation For The Careless Driving of Others
If you have been a victim of a car wreck involving an elderly or senior driver, the cause might have been one or more of the foregoing. Everyone — including the elderly — has an obligation to drive safely and to avoid putting others at risk. If you have been injured, you are entitled to seek full compensation for your injuries and property damage by suing the careless driver. Under Georgia law, the lawsuit will be a claim for negligence. To prove negligence in the operation of a motor vehicle, the victim must show that the other driver failed to use reasonable care in driving, that such failure was the cause of the wreck and that you were injured thereby. For elderly drivers, “reasonable care” includes the obligation to not drive while impaired by medication, not drive if confusion or disorientation is likely and not driver without proper eyewear.
If you are able to prove negligence, in Acworth and in Georgia generally, you are able to recover many forms of compensation, including
- Past, present, and future medical expenses;
- Past, present and future lost income and benefits;
- Pain and suffering;
- Property damage;
- Incidental costs and expenses — e.g., car rental charges and fees;
- Loss of use;
Acworth Car Accidents: Contact the Roger Ghai Law Offices
If you have suffered — or someone you love has suffered — an injury due to a careless driver in Acworth or Cobb County — maybe on I-75 — contact the knowledgeable attorneys at the Roger Ghai Law Offices. We know the law, have proven results and can help you navigate the complex legal issues involved in Georgia negligence lawsuits. Click here today to schedule your consultation. We provide legal services for the residents of Cobb County including the communities of Acworth, Marietta, Kennesaw and surrounding areas.