Elderly drivers in Illinois may increase the dangers for others

As people age, they may begin to experience a decline in their driving abilities. Drivers over 75 may have more of a chance of causing a fatal accident.

Older drivers have many more years of driving experience than the younger generations. As a result, many senior citizens have been able to maintain safe driving records. Unfortunately, a person's driving ability does not necessarily stay steady while one ages. Chicago drivers who are over a certain age may become more likely to cause a serious car crash than younger drivers, states Consumer Reports. Senior citizens over 80 may be six times more likely to be in a fatal collision than others.

Each day throughout the United States, about 15 elderly people are killed in car accidents, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additionally, 500 seniors are injured in crashes every day. These numbers include many drivers who are senior citizens, who may still be driving despite signs that their abilities are declining.

Illinois licensing regulations for older drivers

According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, many states have different licensing procedures for older drivers. These may include physical examinations, retaking the licensing test or decreasing the period between renewals after reaching a certain age. In Illinois, the regulations are as follows:

  • Drivers between the ages of 81 and 86 must renew their licenses every two years instead of the standard four years.
  • After age 87, drivers must renew their licenses yearly.
  • Drivers over the age of 75 must provide vision proof with each renewal.
  • Renewal online or by mail is not permitted for those age 75 and older, and must be done in person.

Numerous common factors among older drivers make these restrictions necessary. For example, states NIH Senior Health, senior citizens may suffer from age-related cognitive or physical conditions, such as dementia, stroke or diabetes, which inhibit their driving abilities. They may not be able to see or hear as well, and might have reduced reflexes and depth perception. They may have an injury or medical condition that makes driving difficult, or regularly take medication that makes them drowsy.

Older woman crashes into burger shop, nearly mows down employees

A recent accident in July showed how others may face injuries in accidents caused by older drivers. KFVS News reported that an elderly woman crashed through the wall of a burger restaurant in Herrin. The woman said her accelerator got stuck, causing her to lose control of her vehicle. Two of the restaurant's staff members narrowly avoided being struck, as they had been in that area of the dining room just before the driver crashed through. Two people were sent to the hospital for minor injuries.

Car accident injuries may be severe and result in weeks or months of recovery time, lost wages and medical bills. Those who were injured in an accident caused by an older driver may be able to seek compensation by speaking with a personal injury attorney.