Are Older Drivers at Risk for Causing a Car Accident?

older-driverObtaining a driver’s license is a milestone in most people’s lives. In Illinois, a motorist must pass a written exam and a behind-the-wheel test before he or she can legally operate a vehicle. As drivers advance in years, they are required to renew their licenses. Depending on their age, this may require a vision screening to test their vision, as well as their capabilities behind the wheel. Although many elderly people still have a valid driver’s license, they may have a greater chance of being involved in or causing a car accident. According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), nearly 5,000 drivers aged 70 or older perished in car accidents in 2018. Even if a crash does not result in a fatality, it can still involve serious injuries.

Illinois Driving Laws

Just as traffic laws are put in place to keep the public safe, so are driving laws. The purpose of the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) testing is to identify older drivers who may have become unsafe behind the wheel. In some cases, an aging motorist may simply need a stronger eyeglass prescription. In other instances, driving privileges could be rescinded if they are found to be a danger to themselves or others when operating a motor vehicle.

Illinois has the following stipulations for senior drivers:

  • Drivers age 75 and older must renew their licenses in person.
  • Vision and road tests are required for drivers age 75 and older.
  • Drivers who are 81 to 86 years old must renew their licenses every two years.
  • Drivers age 87 and older must renew annually.

Factors that Influence the Likelihood of a Crash

Being able to drive from place to place gives many senior citizens a sense of freedom, which is often hard for them to give up. Studies show that there are fewer older people who drive compared to younger motorists, and they typically travel shorter distances when they do hit the road.

A few of the characteristics that the older population exhibits that can impede their driving ability include but are not limited to:

  • Slower reflexes
  • Loss of mobility due to arthritis
  • Impaired vision
  • Cognitive impairment
  • Physical limitations

Americans are living longer than ever before, but that means seniors should not necessarily be driving in their 80s or 90s. Many older drivers realize their limitations and avoid situations that put them at risk. This may mean not driving when it is dark out, during rush hour, or in rainy or snowy conditions.

Contact an Orland Park, IL Personal Injury Lawyer

Driving is a privilege that the state of Illinois takes seriously. That is why all drivers must maintain a clean driving record and updated license in order to safely operate a vehicle. If you or your loved one were hurt in a vehicle collision with an older driver, you may be entitled to seek damages depending on the circumstances. James A. Payonk Jr., Attorney at Law, has extensive experience in handling all kinds of personal injury claims to favorable outcomes for his clients. Our skilled Illinois car accident attorneys will review the details surrounding your case to secure the compensation you need and deserve. Call us today at 708-966-2408 to schedule your free consultation.


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