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Safety advances may help older drivers avoid more accidents

New safety innovations for motor vehicles may help older drivers in Kentucky avoid more accidents. While safety features are beneficial to all drivers, those who are older are more likely to have problems spotting hazards around and behind them because of range-of-motion issues, and they may also be more confused when they approach intersections that are busy.

Some of the new technology is already available as an option on more expensive vehicles. The automotive industry is moving towards making the technology available in all cars. The technology includes blind-spot warning systems that alert drivers when another vehicle is in the driver's blind spot. Drivers in their 70s are likelier to be involved in accidents caused by failing to see hazards in time or to react quickly than are younger drivers simply because of aging. Features like automatic braking systems may help by slowing the vehicle when the driver does not engage the brake in time to avoid a collision.

The new technology may allow more older drivers to remain on the road for longer times. In 2014, there were around 31 million drivers age 70 or older on the nation's roadways. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that that number will climb to around 54 million by 2030.

Reducing both the severity and number of car accidents is a top goal of federal agencies and the auto industry alike. However, it is doubtful that even the most advanced technology will be a barrier to drivers who are impaired, speeding or otherwise negligent, and a person who is injured in an accident that is caused by such a motorist may want to have legal assistance in seeking appropriate compensation.

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