Study: Many Older Drivers in Florida Unwilling to Give Up Car Keys

by Carmen Dellutri on December 22, 2011

Naples personal injury attorneyAs Florida personal injury attorneys, we know that the risk of getting into a car accident increases as we age. In 2008, 447 older adults were killed in Florida car accidents, accounting for about 15 percent of all crash fatalities in the state. That statistic will likely grow as the population of Florida residents aged 65 and older is projected to grow to 27 percent over the next two decades.

According to a new study, very few of older drivers have thought ahead to a time when they will no longer be able to drive a vehicle safely or considered how they will get around without a car.  Even more alarming, the survey—developed by Florida State University and the Florida Department of Transportation—found that 13 percent of survey respondents indicated they would not stop driving at all, with 3 percent expressing the opinion that they would die before they would stop driving.

The findings reflect a serious issue in Florida — and across the nation — that older drivers are at a disproportionate risk for being involved in a fatal vehicular crash, according to John Reynolds, the Eagles Professor of Sociology at Florida State and director of the university's Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy.

To address the problem, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) has awarded the Pepper Institute grants totaling $475,000 to assist it in establishing and implementing a statewide coalition to create a statewide Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan.

"The bottom-line measure of success for the grant from the DOT is that we reduce the number of fatalities, injuries and crashes that involve older adults in Florida," Reynolds said. "However, in doing so we'll be making the roads safer for all Floridians and hopefully serving as a national model for other states."

Below are some additional findings regarding older drivers, as revealed by the survey:

  • Most older drivers aren’t prepared for when they may be unable to drive safely. Eighty-three percent of survey respondents ages 65 and older, and 92 percent of 50- to 64-year-olds, reported that they have no "transportation retirement plan." When asked to describe how they might transition from driving in the future, many indicated they would rely on family, friends or neighbors (23 percent), but many more replied that they did not know or had not ever thought about it (36 percent).
  • Many aging road users see no alternatives to driving in their communities. When asked about ways they get around besides driving a car, 40 percent of respondents ages 65 and older replied that they ride with family or friends, 26 percent said they walk, and 15 percent said there was no other way to get around other than driving.

The Dellutri Law Group is focused on making bad situations better and putting lives back together. If you or someone you love has been seriously injured in a Florida car accident caused by someone else’s negligence, you may be entitled to compensation.

To learn more about your legal options, contact our experienced Florida injury attorneys for a free consultation. 

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