Elderly Drivers Pose Real Risks


According to a recent police report, a car driven by an elderly woman crashed at a garage in La Playa, California which resulted to significant damage to property and caused serious injuries to the driver and her lady passenger.  Both women are well into their 90s and are now presently undergoing treatment at a local hospital.  If not for the arrival of fire fighters, the driver would have not immediately gotten out of the car as her injuries prevented her from moving out the vehicle.  It is believed that because of this incident, it is highly likely that the driver would be slapped with higher premiums the next time she applies for car insurance.

Elderly Drivers Pose Real RisksNeighbors were busy cooking barbecue when they heard a loud crash after which they discovered that the elderly ladies’ car rammed through a garage door. The women just lived across the place where the accident occurred, and were on their way home from doing groceries.

This case underscores the reluctance of insurance companies to issue car coverage to old drivers, with some insurers even proposing regular driving tests to individuals after they reach a certain age.  Accidents cause premiums to skyrocket with the elderly being the most vulnerable as they have been shown to be more prone to crashes and collisions. In addition, many cases of pedestrian accidents are attributed to elderly drivers.
Industry wide, insurance companies tend to charge higher fees to their elderly customers as they are considered to be high risk. Ironically, some insurers offer “mature discounts” for retirees, which many find not to be a good idea.

As people age, bodily functions and physical abilities weaken, such as eyesight, reflexes, hearing, speed perception — skills that are essential for driving. The La Playa incident is just an example of how easy the elderly can get into accidents. Even simple activities that require light skills such as a drive around the neighborhood can prove to be disastrous to old folks.

There have been a number of cases of elderly drivers figuring in fatal accidents.  One example was in 2003 where George Weller, aged 86 at that time, killed 10 and seriously injured 70 individuals when his car plowed through a farmer’s market.  Weller, who was convicted of manslaughter in 2006, was thought to have mistakenly stepped on the accelerator instead of the brakes.

People are proposing more affirmative action and many believe that increasing premium charges would not entirely eliminate or reduce the dangers and risks.  Certain groups are lobbying for mandatory yearly testing for drivers above 70 years old, which they believe could prevent serious accidents from occurring.