We've got to keep an eye on the elderly drivers in our family and now that concern has prompted the proposal of an additional new-car rating from officials with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).
To help keep older drivers safer behind the wheel, advocates are proposing a new safety rating for older drivers. It's the "silver" rating and it's going to be used to assess the safety and accessibility of vehicles for senior citizens, according to The Washington Post.
Our Broward car accident lawyers understand that users would still access the current 5-star rating -- in existence now since 1978. There will just be more features and ratings available. And this is especially important when we're looking at older driver. We understand that it's just the test of time. With age comes deteriorating senses. We're slowly seeing a decline in our sight, hearing and flexibility. It's a fact of life, but we have to learn how to embrace it by making sure we're safe at all times.
So where have all these older drivers come from? According to researchers, it's all a part of the "silver tsunami." We're referring to the tidal wave of older baby boomers now hitting the doors to retirement. As a matter of fact, the AARP reports that less than 20 percent of all licensed drivers in the country are currently 65 and older. But that's a number that's going to get much bigger in the near future. Data shows that there is going to be well over 55 million elderly drivers on our roadways in 2030, compared to less than 40 million today.
So why the silver rating? Older riders are more likely to be injured or killed in the event of an auto collision. With age, our bodies are frailer and more susceptible to injury. This is why it's so important that we're all equipped with a vehicle that fits us and meets our needs. With this new rating, elderly drivers will be able to choose a vehicle that's safe for them.
The only worry there is that vehicles will be stereotyped and the ratings will backfire. No one wants to be caught in an "old person car."
But what are these features that can benefit our aging drivers? There's easy-grip steering wheels, push button start systems and even automatic seat belts. And with each feature, we're helping to decrease their risks for injury or death in the event of an accident.
And that's a pretty serious deal, considering there were 5,401 people age 65 and older were killed and 185,000 were injured in motor vehicle traffic crashes in the U.S. in 2011. According to the NHTSA's latest statistics, 17 percent of all traffic fatalities in the United States were among people age 65 and older. In the state of Florida, there were close to 450 traffic fatalities among those over the age of 54 in 2011.