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Why Can Drinking and Driving Be Even More Dangerous for Seniors?

Many people associate driving under the influence with young people who go out partying and have too much to drink or with middle-age people who stop by a bar and have a few drinks before driving home from work. However, senior citizens may be particularly susceptible to impaired driving.

It’s easy for someone who has been driving for 50 years, more or less, to think that it’s a skill that they’ve got down pat. With our aging baby boomer generation, there are a lot more of those drivers on the road. According to the Automobile Association of America, 20 percent of U.S. drivers will be over 65 by 2030.

What does age have to do with drinking and driving? Our body becomes less able to metabolize alcohol as we get older. While no one should drink and drive, of course, senior citizens may have an even more difficult time driving safely after a few drinks than they would have a couple of decades ago. Further, the number of medications that people take often increase as they get older. When they mix medications with alcohol, they may be driving under the influence without even realizing it.

Here in South Florida, we share the road with many senior drivers who don’t have the reaction time they used to. Couple this with a decrease in vision (particularly when it comes to driving at night), hearing and other senses, they may not be as adept behind the wheel as they used to be. A drink or two can have a greater impact on their driving ability than it used to.

Anyone who is the victim of a car accident caused by a senior driver should ensure that a full investigation is done to find out what factors could have caused it. Experienced legal guidance can be helpful in these situations.

Source: LifeSafer, “DUI Risks for Senior Citizens,” accessed July 07, 2015

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