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Some Older Colorado Drivers May Pose Risk on Roads

by  on  Car Accidents & Motor Vehicle Collisions

Colorado officials are warning the public about the risk posed by some older drivers, including some who should no longer be behind the wheel.

“Getting older doesn’t mean it’s time to hang up the keys, but it is a time to reflect on how age affects one’s ability to drive,” Darrell Lingk, Safety Director for the Colorado Department of Transportation, said in a recent news release.

CDOT teamed up with various local groups to mark Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. The groups stressed the importance of alternative mobility and transportation to allow seniors to maintain active lifestyles without having to drive themselves.

“Taking proactive steps to stay safe as you age is important,” Lingk added. “And with so many transportation alternatives, it has never been easier to find other ways to get around.”

At least 167 fatal crashes in Colorado in 2023 involved drivers over the age of 65, according to CDOT. 

In late December, for example, an 86-year-old Loveland man was killed when his car collided with multiple vehicles on E-470 in Thornton. The man reportedly was driving his vehicle in the wrong direction on the highway and was not wearing a seatbelt at the time of the crash. Three other people were sent to the hospital with injuries ranging in severity.

Months earlier, a 71-year-old Vail man died when his sport utility vehicle collided head-on with a dump truck on U.S. 6 east of Eagle in an accident that also sparked a wildfire. The SUV drifted into oncoming traffic before colliding with the truck, according to a local news report.

Some drivers can safely operate vehicles well into their nineties, CDOT said. Others are prone to physical and mental maladies, such as eyesight, sleep and cognition problems, that can impact hand-eye coordination and reaction time and reduce their ability to drive.

“Older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in a crash due to the greater fragility of their aging bodies,” CDOT said in a news release. “Research suggests that older adults can expect to outlive their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years.”

The warning comes as seniors continue to account for a larger percentage of the population, in Colorado and across the U.S.

Nationwide, the share of the population that is 65 or older rose by 22% over a 10-year period that ended in 2021, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. About 7,500 people ages 65 and older are killed in traffic accidents across the country per year.

CDOT is urging Coloradans to help friends and family members over the age of 65 to come up with a transportation plan. Older drivers should have their vision checked regularly and ask medical providers to review any prescriptions to determine if the medication impacts driving in any way. They also should stick to driving during daytime hours when visibility is greater and consider alternative transportation options if necessary.

Injured in a Colorado Car Accident? Here is What You Need to Know

Anyone who is injured in a traffic accident in Colorado has the right to seek compensation from those responsible for the crash, whether it is a driver or another party. That is true whether you are injured while traveling by car, truck, motorcycle or bicycle or on two feet.

The money damages available in Colorado accident cases is intended to help injured people get back generally to the financial position that they were in before the crash. It typically includes money for doctors’ bills, vehicle damage, missed wages, and the impact of injuries on an injured person’s long-term earning capacity.

To get that compensation, you generally need to be able to identify who is responsible for the crash and prove the person or entity’s legal liability. 

Colorado traffic accident cases are usually based on negligence claims. Negligence is a legal theory that holds people and entities liable when they fail to live up to a certain standard of care.

Drivers, for example, are generally required to operate their vehicles in a reasonably safe manner. They are expected to abide by traffic laws, maintain appropriate speeds and remain alert at all times. A driver who does not live up to this responsibility is likely to be found negligent and liable for any crashes that happen as a result.

There is some good news for anyone who has been injured in a car accident in Colorado: You do not need to go it alone. A Denver accident attorney at our firm can help you understand your rights and options and take action to obtain compensation.

Wrongful Death Claims for Colorado Car Accidents

In the tragic event that a person is killed in an auto or other accident in Colorado, his or her loved ones have the right to compensation for wrongful death. The monetary damages in these cases include compensation for medical and burial costs as well as the loss of the person’s financial and emotional support.

A wrongful death claim will never allow you to replace a loved one or turn back the clock and stop a crash from happening. It can, however, ease some of the monetary strain that often comes with losing a family member.

Colorado law limits who can pursue a wrongful death case to spouses, children and parents. In the event that a person dies without a spouse, child or parent, the personal representative of his or her estate can sue for wrongful death.

Speak with a Denver Accident Attorney

If you or a loved one has been injured in a truck, car, motorcycle or other collision in Colorado, a Denver accident attorney at Levine Law can help you understand your legal rights and options. 

Our lawyers are pleased to serve clients throughout Colorado, including in Denver, Colorado Springs, Ft. Collins and Loveland. Call us at 303-333-8000 or contact us online to speak with a Denver accident attorney.