As people live and stay active longer, it’s only normal that many seniors are going to continue driving well into their latter decades of life. While some elderly drivers are very safety conscious, others are less so.
With aging comes a slowing down of cognitive functions and reflexes, as well as issues with vision and hearing. Combine those with the effects of a cocktail of medications that many older people take and you’ve got the potential for a serious crash. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), “fatal crash rates increase noticeably starting at ages 70-74 and are highest among drivers age 85 and older.”
Taking the keys away isn’t always an option
Often, the adult children of older drivers attempt to get their parents to give up driving when they can no longer do so safely. However, if someone has their own car and they continue to pass their license renewal tests, there’s often little to be done – until something bad happens.
People who are injured in crashes caused by elderly drivers often want to know if they can take legal action against their family members who allowed them to continue driving. Unfortunately, if a person is driving their own car, it’s virtually impossible to hold someone else responsible.
When is a negligent entrustment case possible?
If, however, the elderly driver’s children gave them the keys to one of their own cars knowing that they were unfit to drive, you might be able to make a case for “negligent entrustment.” This type of law also allows people to sometimes sue parents whose teen causes a crash.
It would be necessary to show that the elderly driver had a history of unsafe driving that the person who owned the car was aware of when they let them take it. It would help if the person had a number of traffic citations for moving violations or a record of car repairs for damage.
If you or a loved one was injured by an unsafe elderly driver, it’s wise to look into all of your potential sources of compensation in addition to insurance. Having legal guidance can be extremely valuable.