As people get older, sometimes they experience medical problems that affect their vision, hearing, reflexes or cognitive skills. In many cases, when this occurs, these seniors are endangered behind the wheel. Older drivers can present a significant risk to themselves and to others, but unfortunately, many don’t stop driving voluntarily because they aren’t aware that they can no longer drive safely or because they don’t want to give up their independence.
To help draw attention to the problems of seniors driving past their prime, the American Occupational Therapy Association has sponsored an Older Driver Safety Week. The AARP blog indicates that this safety week was scheduled for December 5-December 9, 2012.
Our Greenville personal injury attorneys applaud the campaign to help keep senior drivers safe and we urge elderly individuals and their family members to take a little time over the holidays to consider the issues of senior driving.
Considering Senior Driver Safety During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
During Older Driver Safety Week, there is a different focus each day so that all issues related to senior drivers are addressed. Over the course of the week, the events include having family conversations; evaluations of whether seniors can still drive; a review of options for adaption or driving equipment that can make it possible for seniors to continue to drive; as well as tips on how seniors can cope with changes and even adjust to life after driving if necessary.
Each of these different aspects of Older Driver Safety Awareness week are things that families should consider, either during this week or at any time over the holidays when seniors and their relatives are spending time together. Those who have older relatives, for example, should have a frank and honest discussion with them about whether they are capable of driving now and about what will happen if they are no longer capable of driving in the future.
Helping Older Family Members to Stay Safe
The best situation, in every case, is when a senior makes the decision on his or her own to stop driving. This ensures that the senior has made the autonomous choice to choose safety and, since the senior may be the one most aware of his or her medical state, is the best way to make sure that no one drives after it is no longer safe.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t always happen and sometimes seniors won’t be aware that they should no longer drive. When this is the case, it is up to family members to notice and take action. Over the holiday season when you are spending time with your older loved ones, it is a good idea to both observe the senior’s behavior carefully and to initiate discussions about safe driving issues. If you see signs that something is wrong, you can encourage your loved ones to stop driving or, if necessary, can bring in outside help by talking to their doctor or having a driving screening to test their skills and make sure they are still able to drive without presenting a danger to themselves and to others.
If you or a loved one has been involved in a car accident, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Serving all of the Carolinas, including Winston-Salem, Charlotte and North Wilkesboro.
Buckle Up North Carolina: Seat Belts Save Lives! North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, December 3, 2012.