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Age-related accidents a problem in Montana

A number of elderly drivers in the nation put other motorists at risk while on the road. Motorists who are over the age of 65 were involved in over 6,700 deadly car accidents in 2016 alone, according to the Governors Highway Safety Association. The District of Columbia and 33 states have regulations in place, requiring elderly drivers to go through a different licensing process than other motorists. States may restrict online registration, require elderly drivers to come in for vision and/or road tests or have them renew their drivers licenses more frequently. In Montana, drivers over the age of 75 must renew their licenses every four years, as opposed to every eight years, which is regular renewal length.

There are many factors that come into play when looking at mature drivers. Eye problems and conditions, such as glaucoma and macular degeneration, increase significantly as people grow older. People over the age of 65-years have a hard time focusing in low-light conditions and may be more sensitive to glare and bright headlights. Furthermore, decreased motor functioning can make it difficult for elderly drivers to operate a vehicle safely. As people age, they often experience a decline in important cognitive skills, such as visual processing, focusing and memory. Medications taken by elderly drivers may also have an effect on their ability to operate a vehicle, as they may decrease their response time.

As a way to minimize the risk of accidents involving mature drivers, older motorists should avoid driving in bad weather or while drowsy or distracted. It is also crucial that older drivers buckle up and have their vision checked regularly.

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