Archive for December, 2013

NHTSA Releases Guidelines to Help Senior Drivers Stay Safer

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has released its first-ever Older Driver Highway Safety Programs Guidelines designed to address the problem of the aging driving population. The guidelines contain recommendations for states on how to incorporate best practices derived from senior-driving rules throughout the country. The NHTSA suggests that state driver’s license agencies, along with individual state Departments of Transportation, should work together with medical providers that assist seniors in order to help make sure that seniors (and especially high risk seniors) don’t drive when it is no longer safe for them to do so. 

Car accident attorneys in West Palm Beach know that demographics are changing and that a huge number of drivers on roads throughout the America are going to be aged 65 and older soon. While these seniors usually make safe driving choices, unfortunately they also suffer from physical and mental impairments in many cases. The natural results of aging that impair functionality have made seniors the demographic group that is at the second greatest risk of getting into an accident, following only teen drivers. The NHTSA is trying to reduce this accident risk by creating its new guidelines.

NHTSA Addresses Senior Driving Issues

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration focused on several key factors when creating its five-year plan and when writing guidelines related to the safety of seniors. The NHTSA believes that part of the plan should include:

  • Improving vehicle safety. The NHTSA is currently researching important technologies related to crash avoidance. While these technologies can be potentially life-saving for any drivers, some may be of “special assistance” to senior drivers because they help address vulnerabilities that older motorists are more likely to have. For example, the new technologies include collision-avoidance features and vehicle-to-vehicle communications systems.
  • Vehicle ratings for seniors. The NHTSA is considering adding a special “Silver” rating system to its New Car Assessment Program. Seniors could look at the Silver rating system to get an idea of which cars offer the most features catered to older drivers.
  • Improvement of data collection methods. The NHTSA collects data on car accidents that occur throughout the United States in order to identify trends and risk factors. The data helps to shape policy. The NHTSA is looking to improve its data collection systems and to collect more information on physical, perceptual and cognitive changes that are associated with senior drivers and that can result in an increased crash risk. This can help make state and federal lawmakers better informed about how to help avoid accident risks that result from an older driving population.
  • Publishing the new guidelines that address functional changes in seniors.

The NHTSA’s new senior guidelines were created after considering best practices from around the entire United States. By choosing the best programs and regulations that exist throughout the country, the NHTSA has provided an invaluable guide to helping states take steps to ensure that senior drivers are safe on the roads.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the car accident lawyers in West Palm Beach at Gonzalez & Cartwright, P.A., at (800) 608-2965 for a free case consultation.