Individuals in the United States who were born between 1946 and 1964 are part of the infamous Baby Boomer generation. Today’s Baby Boomers are between the ages of 51 and 70 years old. In the coming years, as individuals of this generation continue to age, they will comprise a significant percentage of the U.S. population.
In addition to the expected increase in demands for nursing homes and geriatric medical specialists, many Baby Boomers will also have transportation needs. By the year 2050, nearly 84 million Americans are projected to be age 65 and older. It’s unavoidable and undeniable that for most people, with age comes certain physical and cognitive impairments that can affect an individual’s vision, reaction time and ability to quickly take in and process information.
These are just a few of the skills that are essential to safely operate a motor vehicle and there’s growing concern about a possible increase in traffic accidents related to aging Baby Boomers who continue to drive well after they should. For many of the men and women in this generation, being able to drive equates to independence and it can be extremely difficult to give that up and have to rely on family, friends or other services for one’s transportation needs.
For the sake of everyone with whom they share the road as well as their own safety, aging drivers would be wise to pay attention to changes in their vision and other physical and cognitive abilities. Starting at age 70, the likelihood of an individual causing or being involved in a traffic accident begins to increase. Additionally, “fatal crash rates increase remarkably beginning at age 70,” as an individual’s body may not be able to withstand the stress of injuries suffered in a motor vehicle accident.
While Connecticut isn’t among those states that require drivers over a certain age to undergo regular vision screens or obtain a doctor’s approval to renew a driver’s license, older drivers in the state must acknowledge their own limitations.
Source: Eastern Arizona Courier, “Senior drivers causing more crashes,” Dec. 2, 2015
Governors Highway Safety Association, “Mature Driver Laws,” December, 2015