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Studies show elderly drivers involved in fewer crashes

Elderly drivers get a bad rap in this country. Many people think of them as being slow or easily confused on the road, which could cause danger to others. A recent study, however, shows that senior drivers are safer than we may think. 

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety found that drivers who are in their 70s are less likely to be involved in a fatal accident than teenagers and drivers in their 20s. And, although drivers who are 80 or older are still the most likely to be involved in a fatal crash, the fatality rate for this age group has fallen substantially in the last 20 years. 

Fatal accidents involving the most elderly drivers has dropped by more than half since 1995. For drivers in their 70s, the rate of fatal accidents has decreased by more than 30 percent. While the reason behind the decline in fatal accidents for the elderly is not entirely clear, some suggest that safer cars may have something to do with it. 

With this information, the government will have decide the best way to approach aging drivers. Everything from more frequent screenings to safer vehicles for the elderly has been suggested. 

It is important to remember, however, that not all car accidents involving elderly individuals are caused by the elderly driver. Other drivers make mistakes too, and if an elderly person is injured because of another driver's negligence, that person can be held accountable. Under North Carolina's personal injury laws, an individual injured in a car accident can seek compensation for medical expenses and other related damages. 

Source: The Wall Street Journal, "Older Americans' Car-Crash Fatality Rate Has Declined, Study Says," Joseph B. White, Feb. 20, 2014

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