According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), there were more than 45 million licensed drivers over the age of 65 in America as of 2018. To their credit, these elderly drivers were more likely than younger drivers to:
- Wear seat belts
- Drive only under safe weather conditions
- Drive unimpaired by alcohol or illegal drugs
Despite their safer driving habits, though, senior citizens are more likely than those in other age groups to have car accidents. This is due to the physical changes that come with age, such as hearing or vision problems and cognitive impairments that affect the ability to react to changing road conditions.
Preventive Measures in South Dakota for Elderly Drivers
In South Dakota, doctors are encouraged to report to the Department of Public Safety any diagnoses of neurological, physical, or mental disorders that might impair a senior’s driving. The South Dakota Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) also accepts information from friends, relatives, doctors, insurance companies, or civil servants who have noticed that a senior driver:
- Becomes drowsy when driving
- Gets nervous on the road
- Gets lost on familiar routes
- Drives too slowly
- Suffers “near misses”
- Drifts out of the proper lane
After administering vision, hearing, and driving tests, the DMV might place restrictions on a senior driver’s license for the protection of the driver and others:
- Driving only with corrective lenses
- No nighttime driving
- No driving outside a specified geographic area
- Driving only within a 50-mile radius of home
- Driving a vehicle equipped with a left outside rearview mirror
- Driving a vehicle with an automatic transmission
- Driving a vehicle with other specified equipment
Liability for Accidents Caused by Elderly Drivers
Seniors are legally liable for any medical bills, lost wages, property damage, and pain and suffering they cause. The law does not make allowances for a person’s age when determining if they should be held accountable for their negligence.
Pursuing a claim against an elderly driver who caused your car accident is a sensitive matter best handled by an experienced attorney. Your attorney can review the driver’s medical records, driving history, and license restrictions, as well as the evidence collected at the accident scene, to determine how to best establish liability for your damages. If the senior was driving without a license or is underinsured, your attorney can help you pursue compensation from the vehicle owner, the driver’s personal assets, or your own insurance policy.
Have You Been Injured by an Elderly Driver in South Dakota? Contact Our Experienced Car Accident Attorneys Today.
Take the first step toward fair compensation by consulting an experienced car accident lawyer. Contact us online or call us at 605-306-4100 to schedule a free consultation. You pay no attorney fees until we win your case.