Advances in Technology Keep Senior Drivers Safe

a senior man sleeping on steering wheel, auto accident

Automobile manufacturers are incorporating a wide range of new technologies that make driving safer for older drivers. There are currently 30.1 million drivers over the age of 70 and this number is expected to increase to more than 52.7 million in the next 13 years. Technologies such as rear-facing cameras, collision avoidance systems, and even self-driving cars are intended to reduce the number of accidents and potential injuries and fatalities within this demographic.

Older Drivers are Driving More

Lower gas prices, lack of public transportation, and a desire to maintain independence in their later years are just some of the factors that are leading to an increase in the number of elderly drivers. From 1996 to 2008, drivers over the age of 70 have increased their annual mileage by 42%.

Elderly drivers typically have diminished reflexes, diminished eyesight, and may be more prone to drowsy driving such as when they are taking medications to manage health conditions. These factors increase the likelihood that they will be involved in an automobile accident. In 2014, 5,700 elderly drivers were killed in automobile accidents and 236,000 were treated for injuries.

Technology Reducing the Risks

Active safety systems rely on cameras and sensors to alert drivers to potential threats. These systems can steer the car away from threats or apply brakes to prevent a collision. Active safety systems also include sensors that alert drivers when they depart from their travel lane, adaptive headlights that follow the path of the vehicle, and 360-degree cameras that provide a thorough and complete picture of objects in the vicinity of the vehicle.

Other systems such as telematics can assist seniors who become lost or have an accident while traveling. These push-button systems connect drivers to emergency assistance that can help them get back on course or dispatch aid such as firefighters, police officers, or paramedics in the event of a roadside emergency.

Regrettably, one of the oldest technologies, the seatbelt, does little to reduce the risk of injury or death. 60% of elderly drivers and passengers age 65-75 who died in 2014 were wearing seatbelts, as were 69% who were over the age of 75. Thus, it is clear to auto accident attorneys in Las Vegas that new and advanced driving technologies are needed that can prevent collisions before they ever occur.