Do Elderly Drivers Pose a More Serious Risk of Causing Pedestrian Accidents in Georgia?


November 17, 2013

There are some people who believe that elderly drivers pose a greater risk of hitting pedestrians because of age-related declines in vision, reflexes, memory and other factors. However, a study published in Accident Analysis and Prevention suggests that this simplistic generalization about which age group of drivers poses a greater risk of causing pedestrian accidents does not tell the whole story. The researchers conducted the study following a perceived increase in the number of pedestrian-car accidents involving elderly drivers. The results are particularly relevant as baby boomers approach their senior years.

The study compared both elderly and non-elderly drivers with experience behind the wheel. The first part of the study involved having drivers use a driving simulator while watching video footage while the second part involved pushing a button after observing a potential hazard. Elderly drivers were slower to identify potential pedestrian accident risks with approximately half of the pedestrian hazards posing more of a challenge for elderly drivers. The researchers found that elderly drivers also were about half as likely to depress the brake pedal when a pedestrian was present in a crosswalk, shoulder of the road or sidewalk during the simulator phase of the study.

However, elderly drivers tended to compensate for slower reaction times and difficulty identifying hazards by decreasing their speed. Senior drivers proceeded at a speed about twenty percent slower than non-elderly drivers when operating the driving simulator. In other words, elderly drivers adjusted their driving behavior so that they would have more time to recognize potential hazards and take evasive action.

The researchers suggest that the study confirms that elderly drivers may have a narrower useful field of view (UFV), as prior studies have found, which makes it harder for senior drivers to spot potential road hazards. The researchers also suggest that traffic safety authorities can reduce the risk of pedestrian collisions involving elderly drivers by posting visible signs and lane marking that alert elderly drivers of the increased likelihood of pedestrians in the roadway, such as near schools, intersections, shopping centers, parks and other places that experience significant foot traffic.

When a pedestrian is struck by an inattentive, distracted, speeding or drunk driver, whether elderly or not, the driver may be liable for resulting injuries or wrongful death of the pedestrian. If the roadway, sidewalk or crossing posed an unreasonable risk to pedestrians in its design or maintenance, the public entity responsible for the roadway may also be financial responsible.

Put Our Law Firm's Over 30 Years of Experience to Work For You

If you are involved in a pedestrian accident in Georgia, our Atlanta pedestrian injury attorneys at Montlick and Associates have been representing injury victims for over thirty years throughout all of Georgia and the Southeast, including but not limited to Albany, Athens, Atlanta, Augusta, Columbus, Gainesville, Macon, Marietta, Rome, Roswell, Savannah, Smyrna, Valdosta, Warner Robins and all smaller cities and rural areas in the state. No matter where you are located our attorneys are just a phone call away, and we will even come to you. Call us 24 hours a day/7 days a week for your Free Consultation at 1-800-LAW-NEED (1-800-529-6333). You can also visit us online at www.montlick.com and use our Free Case Evaluation Form or 24-hour Live Online Chat.

Category: Personal Injury

Please Note:
Many of our blog articles discuss the law. All information provided about the law is very general in nature and should not be relied upon as legal advice. Every situation is different, and should be analyzed by a lawyer who can provide individualized advice based on the facts involved in your unique situation, and a consideration of all of the nuances of the statutes and case law that apply at the time.