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Diminished cognitive and physical abilities in older drivers

Aging affects not only hearing and vision deterioration but also cognitive abilities. It happens over time, and drivers might not even be aware that they are risking their own and other people’s lives. There comes a time for older people to face that they can no longer operate their vehicles safely. Older British Columbia drivers might find that their reaction times are no longer what they were.

Situations like vehicles unexpectedly pulling out of driveways could be life-threatening if reactions are delayed. Diminished motor skills affect more than drivers’ reaction times. Age-related diseases like arthritis cause various cognitive problems that adversely affect driving abilities.

According to the Canadian Medical Association, musculoskeletal pain is also caused by ankylosis. It is caused by abnormal stiffening and immobility of a joint due to fusion of the bones. Another age-related risk for drivers is decreased concentration ability.

The organization explains that the persistent and severe pain caused by the following types of arthritis affects muscle strength, joint functions and range of motion:

  • Degenerative arthritis causes stiffness and pain in the thoracolumbar and cervical spine.
  • It hampers drivers’ ability to turn their heads for safety checks.
  • Inflammatory arthritis causes persistent pain.
  • It leads to limited range of movement in joints, including ankles, knees, shoulders, hips, wrists, elbows and joints in the hands.

Older drivers whose pain is severe enough to affect their ability to execute coordinated activities should not drive. If they do, they might be held liable for any damages suffered by others in accidents they might have caused. Victims who pursue damage recovery by filing personal injury lawsuits in a British Columbia civil court will have to prove negligence on the senior driver’s part to have viable claims for documented financial and other losses.