Carter Craig, Attorneys at Law

Car safety tech already benefiting older drivers

Executives in the automotive industry caution that fully automated vehicles could be years away. Technological enhancements that potentially reduce the likelihood of accidents, however, already appear on newer vehicle models. Some of these, like automatic brakes, automatic parking and rear-mounted cameras, could help older adults in Virginia and around the country drive safely and maintain their mobility.

Features that provide warnings about impending collisions or allow motorists to maintain a wider view of their surroundings could counteract the effects of aging. Heavy traffic sometimes confuses elderly drivers more easily. People in this age group also have a reduced physical range of motion, which limits their ability to scan for obstacles in all directions.

Vehicles with rear-mounted cameras and blind-spot warning systems allow people to maintain a greater awareness of their driving environment. Brake systems that activate when an object is detected could lessen the force of a collision. Older people often experience more severe injuries in car crashes than younger people because of their fragile bones. Auto manufacturers have pledged to make automatic braking systems standard on vehicles by 2020.

Advances in safety technology, however, cannot eliminate all accidents. A person injured in a crash caused by a reckless or distracted driver could pursue damages on the basis of driver negligence. A brain injury or other catastrophic injuries could require extensive and expensive medical care and treatment. An attorney could be of assistance in preparing and filing a lawsuit seeking compensation for these and other amounts, including wages lost due to an inability to return to work, from the at fault-motorist.

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