North Carolina is fifth for traffic fatalities involving older drivers

A new report says that North Carolina has the fifth-highest number of fatal accidents involving older drivers.

A recent report by TRIP, a Washington, D.C.-based transportation safety group, has found that North Carolina has the fifth-highest number of older drivers involved in fatal traffic accidents in the country, according to the Charlotte Observer. Throughout the country, older drivers are at greater risk of being seriously injured or killed in motor vehicle accidents than younger drivers are. Given that the elderly population of the United States is expected to climb drastically in the forthcoming years, the study highlights a need for greater traffic safety resources for elderly people.

Elderly drivers in North Carolina

According to the TRIP report, North Carolina had 285 fatalities in 2016 involving at least one driver who was 65 or older. That is the fifth-highest number of elderly driver fatalities in the country, despite the fact that North Carolina only has the ninth-most drivers who are 65 and over. The fatalities involving older drivers in North Carolina are also increasing. In 2012, for example, the number of drivers who were 65-plus and killed in accidents was 219, but by 2016 that figure had risen by 30 percent.

While North Carolina has an unusually high number of elderly drivers who are being killed or seriously injured in accidents, the state is not alone in seeing such accidents rise. Nationwide, the number of fatalities involving a driver who was 65 or over rose by 22 percent between 2012 and 2016 despite overall traffic fatalities for all age groups rising by 11 percent during the same period. That figure is expected to get even worse as the percentage of the U.S. population that is 65 and older is expected to rise from 15 percent in 2018 to close to 24 percent by 2060.

Keeping older drivers safe

There are a number of reasons why older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in an accident. The most obvious is simply because older drivers are more likely to be more physically frail than younger drivers are. Furthermore, older drivers are more likely to live in rural or suburban areas where public transit, rideshares, and other safer forms of transportation are less widely available. Despite these risks, older drivers also tend to be safer drivers and are more likely to wear their seatbelts, to refrain from drinking and driving, and to avoid driving at night or in bad weather.

The TRIP report suggests a number of ways to improve road safety for older drivers. Signs and lane markings, for example, should be made more visible and lighting should be increased at intersections and other potentially dangerous areas. Advancing crash avoidance technologies could also prove highly beneficial as would expanding the accessibility of public and alternative transportation options, especially in rural and suburban areas.

Personal injury law

Anybody who has been hurt in an accident, especially if the injuries are serious, should contact a personal injury attorney as soon as possible. As the above article shows, certain drivers are at especially high risk of being seriously injured and those injuries can lead to significant financial burdens, including medical bills, physiotherapy, and property damage. A personal injury attorney can help clients pursue any financial compensation they may be entitled to.