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Florida rated worst in nation for senior traffic deaths

Florida is number one in the nation when it comes to traffic fatalities involving senior citizens, according to a 2012 report by TRIP, a national transportation research group. According to the report, more drivers age 65 and older are killed in traffic accidents in Florida than in any other state.

Considering Florida's reputation as a retirement destination, it may seem fairly intuitive that there are more senior traffic fatalities here than in other states. In fact, however, Florida has about half a million fewer elderly drivers than California - but Florida still has more traffic deaths for those over 65.

Florida's drivers are getting older

About 20 percent of Florida drivers are age 65 or older, and state officials estimate that figure will to rise to 25 percent by the year 2030. What's more, according to the highway safety advocacy group Floridians for Better Transportation, Florida is projected to gain approximately 5 million new residents over the next two decades, about half of whom will be over the age of 60. This means that not only will the number of older drivers be increasing, but also that many of them will be adapting to driving in a new, unfamiliar state, which could further increase the risk of accidents.

To help address the issue of senior traffic safety in Florida, FBT says, communities throughout the state should focus on making improvements in road design and driver testing, the Sun Sentinel reported. FBT also recommends taking steps to provide better access to alternative forms of transportation for senior citizens.

New technology could help keep older drivers safe

Another element that is likely to play an increasingly important role in keeping Florida's older drivers safe on the road is vehicle safety technology. According to a survey of drivers age 50 and older, which was conducted by The Hartford insurance company and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, many older drivers are interested in new technologies designed to help people drive more safely as they age.

Survey respondents were particularly enthusiastic about new vehicle technologies that would help them with parking and allow them to change lanes more safely, Reuters reported. Other safety technologies that rated highly in the survey include:

  • Blind spot warnings.
  • Emergency response systems.
  • Collision warnings.
  • Back-up monitoring systems.
  • Drowsy driver alerts.

For drivers of all ages, technology is likely to play an increasingly important role in staying safe on the road. In July 2013, the National Transportation Safety Board issued a call for all new vehicles manufactured in the United States to be equipped with vehicle to vehicle communication systems, which can be used to communicate between cars and alert drivers to potential collision risks.

Hurt in a Florida crash?

If you or a family member has been hurt in a Florida traffic accident, you may be entitled to monetary compensation for the injuries, medical bills, lost income and other damages caused by the crash. To learn more about your legal rights and the remedies that may be available for you and your family, contact an experienced personal injury lawyer near you.