Car accidents happen every day in Winter Park, Orlando, and throughout Central Florida. Too often, they result in severe injuries, hospital stays, lengthy rehabilitation, and, at worst, the loss of a loved one.
This is tragically especially true for the older drivers who are a common sight on local highways and streets. A pair of studies by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) found seniors are at greater risk because they tend to operate older, smaller vehicles that lack modern safety equipment. Researchers found motorists 75 and older, when compared with middle-aged drivers (ages 35 to 54), are:
- Four times more likely to die in a side-impact crash.
- Three times more likely to die in a frontal crash.
While vehicle age is not the only issue for older drivers, it's a big one. For example, the studies found their vehicles, sometimes 16 years old or older, lacked electronic stability control systems, increasing the chances of fatalities by 37%. Vehicles without head-protecting side airbags doubled the risk of a deadly outcome for seniors.
New Technology is Expensive & Misunderstood
A major obstacle to persuading older drivers to upgrade to safer vehicles is economics, researchers say. With many living on a fixed income, they simply cannot afford to purchase newer transportation.
IIHS also found many drivers in all age groups – not just the elderly – do not seem to recognize the importance of modern safety equipment. According to a survey, most motorists believe a 10-year-old vehicle that is well-maintained is as safe as a newer, better-equipped car. These drivers appear to equate low mileage on their “retirement vehicle” with safety, even when it lacks standard safety technology that was not available only a few years earlier.
The lack of awareness about safety also prevails among older motorists who purchase newer vehicles. Their buying trends appear to ignore vehicles with higher safety ratings, either because of cost or because they do not see the newer technology as a major selling point.
“Persuading older drivers to take another look at the vehicles they're driving could reduce crash fatalities substantially,” says Jessica Cicchino, IIHS vice president of research and a co-author of both studies. Based on accident data, researchers concluded, crashes in Florida would have claimed the lives of 90 fewer seniors in 2019 if basic safety equipment was viewed as a larger factor.
If you're hurt, you need a car accident lawyer
As the IIHS studies underscore, you can drive safely to protect yourself and that may not be enough if your vehicle is outdated when it comes to safety features. It's also not enough if a careless driver or the vehicle they were driving was responsible for your accident. In either case, the result can land you in the hospital, facing major medical bills and a long road to recovery. The driver who caused the crash, instead of accepting responsibility, likely will blame you for the accident. An insurance company may offer you a lowball financial settlement even though you need – and deserve – much more.
At The Cerasa Law Firm LLC, we know what you are going through when you suffer injuries in an accident. The confusing mix of emotions, legal and financial questions, and health concerns can be overwhelming. We will give one-on-one attention, standing by your side every step of the way in our quest for justice and a fair financial settlement. Contact us today for a free case consultation.