A brutal freeway auto crash that recently claimed the lives of three older people highlights the dangers senior motorists face on Florida’s roads.
The victims, ages 80, 75 and 73, were killed when the SUV they were riding in drifted off I-95 in Jupiter, Florida, and landed in a water runoff retention pond. The driver and the two passengers were pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital. According to the Palm Beach Post, the two women were sisters and were traveling with a male friend to visit a third sister. The accident occurred north of the Donald Ross Road exit after the southbound vehicle swerved off the road, struck a light pole and a cement culvert, sending the vehicle into the pond.
Our Treasure Coast car accident attorneys offer our condolences to all of the families affected by this devastating accident.
Growing Number of Snowbirds and Retirees Call Florida Home
According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Florida has the highest percentage of residents over the age of 65 — 17.3 percent— compared to 13 percent nationally. In fact, nearly a quarter of Palm Beach County residents are over 65. When additional retirees take up temporary residence in Florida during the winter months, the number of people 65 or older climbs even higher.
The town of Jupiter is one of the fasting growing towns in the state, with a 40 percent population increase from 2000 to 2010. Many of the new residents are seniors.
The flood of retirees coming to Florida began in the 1950s and, according to Edmunds.com, this gives Florida the distinction of dealing with the issues of “infirm and elderly drivers for longer than any other state.”
Florida Program to Promote Safe Senior Drivers
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles and its partners have created “Florida GrandDriver” to ensure older motorists can continue to drive safely as they age.The program also aims to educate the public about the effects of age on driving ability and to enhance senior drivers’ ability to get around their communities.
By educating drivers’ family, friends and caregivers about the challenges older adults face, the campaign hopes to help the public make appropriate decisions regarding driving.
Florida GrandDriver provides resource information regarding staying mobile and fit, effects of aging on driving ability and how to reduce collisions. The website also offers self-assessment tests and links to insurance discounts. For family members, the program provides tips on discussing driving concerns with your older loved one.
Florida Highways Adapted for the Older Driver
The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles is working hard to make highways safer for all residents, and especially for older drivers.The most important changes they can make, according to Edmunds, are “visibility and navigability improvements.”
Some of these upgrades include making pavement stripes 2 inches wider, placing reflective pavement markings in the middle of the roads in closer intervals, making the street-name signs larger and placing “advance” street-name signs far enough before an intersection for elderly drivers to react appropriately.
The state is also helping to make mass transit more accessible to senior drivers. Senior citizens can receive steep fare discounts and large-print maps of the transit system, buses are also equipped with security cameras to aid the drivers when citizens get on and off the buses.
Palm Tran, the Palm Beach Transit system, offers training to groups of senior riders to show them how to use the bus system.
Our South Florida attorneys applaud all efforts being made to keep our senior citizens safe when on our Florida highways. We also encourage all drivers to be alert when on the roads and to offer their support to older drivers.
About Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney
The law firm of Philip DeBerard, Injury Attorney, has provided professional and compassionate legal assistance to personal injury and accident victims in South Florida and the Treasure Coast since 1975. The firm’s practice areas include car accidents, truck accidents, motorcycle accidents, product liability, medical malpractice, dog bite injuries, slip and fall injuries, swimming pool accidents and wrongful death claims.
Our law firm represents victims of car accidents across South Florida, including Stuart, Port St. Lucie, Okeechobee, Fort Pierce, Jupiter, Palm Beach and Vero Beach and throughout South Florida and the Treasure Coast. Call 1-800-299-8878 now to speak with a knowledgeable Florida car accident attorney or fill out our online contact form.