By Les Besser
More teenagers die in car crashes than seniors do, right? Wrong!
You might be surprised, but in a crash, older drivers and passengers are more likely to be killed than younger people. Crash related deaths increase markedly after the age of 70. And it doesn’t get better with age. Statistics compiled by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, show that per-miles-driven fatal crash rates of the 80- to 84-year-old group are equal to the rate of 16- to 19- year-old drivers. For the above-85 group, the death ratedoubles!
Alarming? Yes! Our strength, flexibility, energy-level, vision, hearing, memory, and reaction time decline with age. Medical conditions, medications and their side effects can also diminish our ability to drive safely. Experts recommend our asking for an independent evaluation to determine if we should continue to drive—or if it’s time to consider alternatives such as public transportation, friends, family, or rides for hire. We need to do everything possible to remain safe and enjoy life!
Don’t think this applies to you? Well, a fellow tennis player said to me before a recent tennis game on our LCG court: “Les, I have been driving for over 70 years, so I don’t need anyone to tell me how to drive safe.”
“Do you play tennis now as well as you did 70 years ago?” I asked.
“Of course not—I don’t have the same body,” he replied.
I rest my case…