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Is your age affecting your ability to operate a vehicle?

The dangers on the roads affect us all. Chances are you know someone who has been involved in a car accident - or worse - who has lost a loved one in a crash. If every driver takes responsibility for his or her driving ability at all times, many traumatic crashes may be avoided. That includes being responsible enough to obey the rules of the road and not to drive after drinking, without a valid license, while on medication or while impaired in any way. You may not realize that age can also be an impairment, and drivers older than 65 fall into the category of mature drivers.

If you fall in this category, you may want to take note of the three functions that could be impaired as you age:

  1. Visual perception: Adequate acuity and visual field are vital functions when it comes to driving a vehicle. You may find bright glares affect your sight and adjusting to the contrasting levels of light and brightness may take longer than it used to take.
  2. Cognitive perception: If you are taking medication, it may jeopardize your memory and your attention span. You may even struggle to process visual observations and execute immediate actions in tricky traffic situations. The same problems arise for those suffering conditions such as dementia.
  3. Motor skills: Age might have affected the movement and actions of your muscles. Strength, flexibility and endurance are vital for the effective operation of the controls of a vehicle. Furthermore, compromised motor functions can make it difficult to get into a car, fasten the safety belt and turn to check for traffic and other movements. If you suffer from arthritis or a similar disease, driving can be torture.

Law enforcement agencies have different views on the risks to - and posed by - mature drivers. On state levels, Kentucky and Ohio have no provisions for mature drivers while the regular renewal cycle is four years. However, in Indiana, the regular renewal cycle is six years and drivers between 75 and 84 years old must renew their driver's licenses every three years, and every two years for those older than 85 years. These measures are not only to protect mature drivers who are typically more fragile, but also to limit car accidents caused by age impairment.

If you were a victim of a car accident that was caused by a mature driver - or a driver impaired in any other way - you and your family may face financial challenges. You can pursue recovery of damages through the civil justice system on your own or choose to utilize the skills of an experienced personal injury attorney to navigate the legal proceedings for you.

A seasoned lawyer can work to recover compensation for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, and property damage, along with emotional damages such as loss of life enjoyment. If you have lost a loved one in such a crash, an attorney can provide support and guidance by filing a wrongful death claim.

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