Asatryan Law
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Asatryan Law
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Representing the injured in California and Nevada

Do elderly drivers make the roads more dangerous?

Five people died in a horrific three-vehicle crash northwest of Las Vegas, Nevada. A sixth person survived with critical injuries. A 76-year-old driver traveling with wife tried to pass a pick-up truck driven by a man and woman from Pahrump, Nevada. The Las Vegas driver swung into the southbound lane around the truck. He failed to notice the lane was not clear. His misjudgment resulted in a fiery head-on crash with an oncoming vehicle occupied by a couple in their late 70's from Chula Vista, California. The two-vehicle accident pushed the truck off the road, causing it to flip. The truck driver died, and medical rescue took his wife to a Las Vegas trauma hospital by helicopter.  

Speaking to a news reporter, the daughter of the Las Vegas driver responsible for the crash believed fatigue impaired her father's judgment.  

When is it time to discuss driving issues with the elderly?

The NHTSA stated that signs of incompetence to watch for in an elderly driver include the following:

  • New mars or scrapes on the driver's vehicle
  • Gets lost on familiar routes of travel
  • Ignores or becomes confused at stop signs or traffic lights
  • Takes medications not conducive to driving
  • Suffers from dementia or a recent stroke
  • Refusal from others to ride with the driver
  • Drives too slow or too fast for road conditions and speed limits

Each victim or surviving family member of a serious accident can take action against an elderly or impaired driver or, if he is deceased, against his estate. 

When do drivers begin to cause accidents?

Although older drivers are generally able to drive with no problem, their ability lessens with each year; 18 percent of accident fatalities involve drivers over 65 years old, according to a National Highway and Transportation Safety Administration study. Their ability to judge distances and see obstacles diminishes with age. Accident statistics become worse when drivers reach their 70s and 80s. Reflexes slow, eyesight can blur, joints and muscles often grow stiff and early-stage dementia may be present.

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