Seniors Behind the Wheel in Saint Petersburg, Florida

Seniors Behind the Wheel in Saint Petersburg, Florida

As a personal injury attorney who specializes in car crashes, I too had to make some gentle adjustments when I moved to Florida in 2001. As you can imagine, I do see far more personal injury cases involving elderly as my mid-western injury attorney counterparts.

The fact is that Florida has the highest percentage of people who are 65 or older. That is approximately 17 percent of the Florida’s population. And as more baby boomers move to Florida to retire that figure is expected to reach far more than 25 percent. You know what that means? It means more seniors behind the wheel and more defensive driving needed by the younger driver’s.

There is a bright side though to all of this says the FHP. They apparently are already taking steps to minimize the risks. Risks that come along with the influx of senior drivers, including using special suits designed for younger drivers to simulate the elderly driving experience to help them understand what they are up against.

Capt. Mark Welch said “The family members can actually see those changes and they can help,” he said. “It’s a tough call, but there comes a time where Grandma or Grandpa might not be driving any more.”

He has high hopes that more people will be aware of the impact of seniors’ declining vision, reaction time and awareness.

Due to our modern medicine, people are living longer. Even though elderly drivers might be capable of driving well into their 80s and even 90s, doesn’t mean their bodies won’t feel the effects of aging. Even if the older generation may still be sharp and witty, the physical changes to their bodies such as tightening muscles and arthritis, can be difficult to and challenging to them. What used to come easy now is a task.

Automakers such as Ford Motor Company have stepped up to this senior challenge and are currently changing some of the vehicle to assist the elderly. For example, Ford is showing off an entire portfolio of senior-friendly features, including adjustable pedals and bolder type on dashboard controls.

Those changes are a direct response to what officials in Florida have flagged as hurdles to keeping the elderly safe behind the wheel.

“We’re hoping to approach it through the lens of a universal design, that if we can find ways to make it easier to respond to oncoming traffic, to see out of your rear view mirror, to be alerted to cross-traffic, collision or other obstacles, that we do it in a way that works well if you’re 16 or 61,” Ford spokeswoman Sheryl Connelly said.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also preparing for the increase in elderly drivers by starting to widen roadway striping and doubling the number of reflectors that help divide lanes. The increase in reflectors will assist the elderly in driving at night.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has also made stricter requirements for senior drivers. By placing restrictions on the drivers licenses, ensures that they are driving within their abilities.

In addition to being a convenience and an enjoyable activity for many people, driving is also a symbol of one’s independence. As we age, there are a numerous factors that can affect our driving skills, and hinder our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

Due to the increase in the senior drivers, the chances for accidents also increase. In the event that you should encounter an unfortunate accident, make sure to follow the steps of securing the proper information for yourself.

Automakers such as Ford Motor Company have stepped up to this senior challenge and are currently changing some of the vehicle to assist the elderly. For example, Ford is showing off an entire portfolio of senior-friendly features, including adjustable pedals and bolder type on dashboard controls.Those changes are a direct response to what officials in Florida have flagged as hurdles to keeping the elderly safe behind the wheel.

“We’re hoping to approach it through the lens of a universal design, that if we can find ways to make it easier to respond to oncoming traffic, to see out of your rear view mirror, to be alerted to cross-traffic, collision or other obstacles, that we do it in a way that works well if you’re 16 or 61,” Ford spokeswoman Sheryl Connelly said.

The Florida Department of Transportation is also preparing for the increase in elderly drivers by starting to widen roadway striping and doubling the number of reflectors that help divide lanes. The increase in reflectors will assist the elderly in driving at night.
The Florida Department of Motor Vehicles has also made stricter requirements for senior drivers. By placing restrictions on the drivers licenses, ensures that they are driving within their abilities.

In addition to being a convenience and an enjoyable activity for many people, driving is also a symbol of one’s independence. As we age, there are a numerous factors that can affect our driving skills, and hinder our ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles wants older drivers to maintain their driving independence as long as they continue to drive safely and confidently.

Due to the increase in the senior drivers, the chances for accidents also increase. In the event that you should encounter an unfortunate accident, make sure to follow the steps of securing the proper information for yourself.

Herman & Wells, P.A. handles personal injury lawsuits for the injured and their families in Tampa, St. Petersburg, Clearwater, and surrounding areas of Florida.