California the third-worst state for senior-involved car crashes

Seniors can be unsafe behind the wheel, so it's not surprising that they contribute to many auto accidents. A study from The Senior List has ranked the 10 worst states when it comes to crashes involving seniors as well as the 10 safest states. Unfortunately, California is the third-worst state, surpassed only by Florida and Texas. After California comes Georgia, North Carolina and Pennsylvania.

As for the safest states, the top five are New Hampshire, South Dakota, Delaware, Hawaii and North Dakota. While population has a lot to do with the rankings, there are some outliers. For example, Tennessee is not among the most populous states, but it had the eighth highest number of accidents involving seniors.

About 42 million licensed drivers in the U.S. are 65 or older, a 60% increase from 1999. The number of seniors dying in traffic accidents is also increasing, with 2017 seeing nearly 7,000 deaths. They composed 18% of the traffic deaths that year. The number of fatalities among younger drivers, bicyclists and pedestrians has been declining since 2009.

Signs that a senior should not drive include hearing, vision and motor impairment in addition to slow reaction times. However, it is hard for many to give up the freedom that a driver's license provides.

If a senior causes a car crash, their auto insurance company will likely have to face a claim from any injured victims. A successful personal injury claim could reimburse a plaintiff for medical bills, lost wages, pain and suffering, emotional trauma and more. It all depends on the severity of the collision. In any case, a victim may want to retain legal counsel because insurance companies can be aggressive in denying payment or getting plaintiffs to agree to a low settlement.

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