February 22, 2019
Hispanic senior man driving his SUV

Older People, Falls, and Car Crashes

by Berkeley Wellness  

Older drivers who have recently fallen are at elevated risk for car crashes, according to an analysis in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society in December 2017.

Researchers analyzed data from 15 studies involving nearly 47,000 people over 55 and found that those who had fallen were about 40 percent more likely to be in a subsequent crash than their counterparts who had not fallen.

The researchers suggested that falls may endanger drivers by causing physical injury that limits mobility and interferes with driving, as well as by leading to general physical and cognitive decline. In addition, health and functional (including vision) problems, along with impairment due to sedatives or alcohol, that may cause falls can also cause crashes.

Thus, fall prevention programs may have the added benefit of reducing car crashes, the researchers concluded. And rehab that improves functional ability and self-confidence after a fall may help reduce risk while driving.

Also see Keeping Your Balance as You Age and Being an Older, Safer Driver.