The Chicago Personal Injury Law Blog

Driving While Elderly: New Accidents Raise Old Questions

While data supports the conclusion that motorists over the age of 80 have higher accident rates and are more likely than younger drivers (15-24 year-old drivers excluded) to die in a crash, according to a Chicago Tribune article, devising a policy around age requirements for drivers is no simple task.  

Case in point: An 86-year-old woman trying to park at a Cicero restaurant last weekend mistakenly pressed on the gas instead of the brake, injuring three teenagers. Traffic citations were pending as of press time, but it's possible Chicago injury lawyers might also get involved.

On March 24, another 86-year-old motorist crossed the center line and fatally hit 17-year-old Faith Dremmer, who was riding her bike with friends. In both cases it's quite likely the drivers are to blame for the injuries and the one death, but it raises another question.

Should these motorists have been allowed to drive in the first place? In other words, did the system fail them?

Illinois law actually has one of the nation's strictest license renewal policies for seniors, requiring 81- to 86-year-olds to pass a vision test and a road test every two years (as opposed to the standard four years).

But regardless of age, it is important to know what to do in the event of an automobile accident. It's important to take care of one's safety first and foremost, but taking certain vital steps will help you. Taking these steps can help you file a personal injury claim, defend against one, or to make sure your insurance company has all the pertinent information.

FindLaw outlines several important steps to take after an accident, including an exchange of information (without admitting fault), talking to witnesses, taking notes and pictures, calling your insurer and keeping track of medical procedures related to the incident.

Whether you're 16 or 96, liability is based on the facts of the case.

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