Old age and Fatigue as a Cause of Car Accidents

Published: 17th August 2009
Views: N/A

There are times that it is not even the driver's behavior that causes car accidents; sometimes, the physical condition of the body weakens and affects the skill of the driver to operate a vehicle.

Old age and fatigue affects the physical and mental states of drivers that it now accounts for thousands of car accidents in the United States
Here is a brief overview of each and how it becomes a cause of car accidents:

Old Age

Studies show that there are higher incidences in two distinct age groups. First are young drivers between the age of 16 and 20 and the second are elderly drivers who are aged 70 and higher.

It is no wonder why car accident insurance premiums are higher with these age groups.

It is common for some physical impairment to come with old age.

One of the most common is poor vision, which not only comes with old age but also as an effect of different illnesses like diabetes.

The reaction time of the driver also slows down with all age and elderly drivers are also more prone to fall asleep while on the wheel.

According to a study made by Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, there is a rate of about 3 deaths per 100 million miles driven by drivers aged 75 - 84.

For drivers who are 85 and above, the rate of fatality is multiplied four times higher than those aged 75 - 84.

And according to the US Census Bureau, by 2030 when all baby boomers reach the age of at least 65, that age group will account for about 25 percent of all fatal car accidents.

To prevent this, some states require that elderly drivers must renew their license again in person and should again pass the screening at a certain age.
In California, that certain age is 70.


Fatigue refers to a person's state of weariness. It is considered to be an internal precondition for unsafe driving as it negatively affects the driver's internal state.

Fatigue is usually a result of the body's reaction to exertion, lack of sleep, boredom, stress and changes in work schedule. The most common cause of fatigue is sleep deprivation.

According to a European study, researchers found that driving after 17 to 18 hours straight is as harmful as driving with a blood alcohol level (BAC) of .05 %.

Sleep deprivation is known to impair driver's coordination, reaction time and road judgment.

According to studies, about 1,544 fatalities are attributed to fatigue and sleep deprivation every year.

This is actually most common with truck drivers as a result of long driving hours bringing commercial goods across different states.

To counter this, the hours of service (HOS) of truck and bus drivers are regulated by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA).

These rules regulate limit the number of daily and weekly hours that a person can drive a truck or a bus and the minimum time a driver should spend resting in between shifts.

Visit our website to learn more about car accident causes that include old age and fatigue. Call us toll free for legal assistance.

Report this article Ask About This Article

More to Explore