Older Drivers present benefits and Risks
The AARP recently released a comprehensive report that makes a strong case for the value of hiring workers in the age 50+ category. The report details this segment of the population’s increasing willingness to work and describes the many advantages that accompany the decision to hire from this group. To proactively respond to the contents of this report, the AARP then forged a partnership with Uber with the goal of connecting older drivers with the company that pioneered the modern ride sharing revolution.
Drivers Over 50 – The Risk Increases
As more people in the 50+ age category take to the road, it is important to note the unique risks associated with driving as people grow older. There are some shifting dynamics of Americas workforce which means new considerations need to accompany the increased presence of older Americans on the roadways. I f you or a loved one is currently suffering, unfortunately, because of an accident involving issues with older drivers, please contact an accident attorney for assistance.
The 50+ Age Category: An Under-appreciated but Growing Work Force
For a brief period, human resources departments in many companies experimented with efforts to replace aging employees with young people, based on seemingly common-sense assumptions about the two segments of the population. According to the AARP’s recent report, A Business Case for Workers Age 50+: A Look at the Value of Experience, many of those assumptions proved to be wildly inaccurate, and many HR specialists now look for ways to engage the 50+ population once again.
This AARP report supplies a wealth of statistics to back up these surprising claims. For example, the number of workers between the ages of 50 and 59 in the workforce increased by 28% between 2005 and 2015. For the first time since the 1940s, the USA has more seniors than teenagers in its workforce. Numbers like these support the report’s central claim that the idea that older workers are too costly for companies is fundamentally flawed; instead, companies stand to benefit from increased engagement with the 50+ work force.
The 50+ Age Categorys Role in the Ride Sharing Boom
The New York Times recently published a lengthy report on the rapid increase in the number of older Americans who drive vehicles for a living as employees of ride sharing services. Their reporting notes that the AARP, through its branch Life Reimagined, collaborates with Uber to provide more opportunities for aging Americans.
Their partnership features monetary incentives for older drivers to sign up with Uber. Uber claims that more than 600 drivers have signed on with the company as a result in just one year. Although most probably associate ride sharing apps and their drivers with young, tech-savvy Americans, the New York Times article cites data that suggests that nearly a quarter of Ubers drivers fall into the 50+ category. In other words, the ride sharing boom depends considerably on older drivers, and the roadways feature more and more of these drivers as ride sharing services proliferate.
Acknowledging the Risks: Driving as One Ages
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the facts are that risk increases as age increases when it comes to driving motor vehicles. As the baby boomer generation continues to age, the overall percentage of older Americans on the road increases each year.
For example, the 40+ million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in 2015 marked a 50% increase over the number recorded in 1999. This means that more and more accidents involve older drivers. Furthermore, the CDC states that workers who are 55 or older are twice as likely to die when they are engaged in a work-related accident than are those under the age of 55. Some factors contribute to the higher risk for accidents as drivers age. In general terms, the human body is less suited for driving as people grow older. Specific risk factors include vision issues, memory problems, hearing loss, and the effects of medications.
Risk Factor 1: Vision Problems
The fact that vision tends to decline as individuals age is well-known, but many underestimate the role that vision issues can play in auto accidents. People often fail to notice when their general eyesight has deteriorated because the changes happen gradually enough that they go unnoticed. The safe operation of motor vehicles, however, becomes extremely difficult when peoples vision has become significantly impaired.
If you or a loved one suffered injuries in an accident because the other driver was unable to see properly, do not hesitate to contact a premier auto accident attorney in PA. Vision issues come in many forms. In addition to the common problems of nearsightedness and farsightedness, older drivers also often struggle with night vision.
Increased sensitivity to bright lights can disorient older drivers, particularly those who rarely drive at night. Other eye problems also pose unique challenges to older drivers. For example, the blurred vision that accompanies age-specific issues like glaucoma presents a significant barrier to safe driving.
Risk Factor 2: Memory Loss
The dramatic rise of diseases like dementia and Alzheimers in recent decades also pose a distinctive threat to safe driving for older Americans. Individuals often fail to notice that they are suffering from these debilitating diseases, or just no longer possess the mental faculties to assess their own situation adequately. Sadly, these individuals sometimes continue to get behind the wheel of automobiles, thus posing a significant threat to other drivers. If you or a loved one are struggling to deal with a tragic situation that involves memory loss, the best accident attorney in PA can help you navigate this tough scenario.
Risk Factor 3: Hearing Loss
As Americans age, they often experience difficulties with their hearing. Most experienced drivers know how vital one’s hearing is to safely navigate the roadways; yet, as was the case with vision and memory, many people have trouble recognizing that their hearing has declined because the process often happens slowly over time. This means that older drivers sometimes fail to deal with their hearing decline until an unfortunate situation like an auto accident forces them to realize the depths of the problem.
Risk Factor 4: Medication Side Effects
With age often follows a range of irritating medical issues that necessitate various drugs. In many cases, these medications work well; however, some medications bring significant side effects that can have grave consequences for drivers. Many medications carry specific warnings against the operation of heavy machinery, including motor vehicles, because the medications cause drowsiness and a lack of coordination.
Furthermore, when an individual takes more than one type of drugs, the combination of medicines can sometimes have surprising effects on the body that can lead to disastrous consequences when the individual attempts to drive a car. If you are struggling to negotiate the aftermath of an auto accident and you suspect that medications played a role in the way the accident unfolded, do not hesitate to secure the services of a leading accident attorney in Philadelphia. The attorney can help you sort through the confusion and determine your best course of action.
Recap: Pros and Cons of the Increase in Older Drivers
Older Americans are an increasingly important, valuable portion of the nation’s workforce. Trustworthy studies show that hiring older Americans is often a prudent decision.
Organizations like the AARP are taking concrete steps to assist members of the older age brackets in their efforts to continue their careers as they near the traditional retirement period. These efforts include partnerships with companies like Uber that require these older Americans to spend a great deal of time behind the wheel of motor vehicles.
However, there are several significant risk factors associated with the increase in older drivers on America’s roadways. Unfortunate physical and cognitive declines that often accompany advanced age can have serious consequences when older Americans operate motor vehicles.
Even the minor physical ailments that pop up as one ages can lead to troubles because of the side effects of many modern medications, particularly when an individual takes more than one type of medication at the same time. It is also important to recognize, however, that the news is not all negative when it comes to the relationship between age and driving ability.
Despite the aforementioned risk factors, studies also find that many older drivers compensate for some of these risks by greater attention to safe driving practices. For example, older drivers wear their seat belts more often, are more likely to heed speed limits, and in many cases exercise more caution with their driving maneuvers. If you are an older driver and you were involved in an accident, consult a premier accident attorney who can ensure that the other driver does not unjustly use your age against you.
Additional Questions For Your Attorney
Auto accidents involving issues of aging are often very tragic and complicated to sort out. If you are struggling in the aftermath of one of these accidents, please contact our offices for assistance from the best accident attorney in PA.