Seventeen percent of licensed drivers in Pennsylvania are seniors, according to state transportation officials. PennDOT requires drivers 65 and older to renew licenses at two-year rather than standard four-year intervals, but no special restrictions are placed on older drivers as long as they can operate a vehicle safely.
Seniors also make up a large proportion of motorcyclists and, unfortunately, the lion's share of
deaths. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported the victims of 56 percent of all fatal motorcycle crashes in 2010 were in the 40-plus age group.
Younger motorcyclists also suffer fewer debilitating injuries than older riders. A Brown University report published earlier this year stated serious injuries in crashes were more than twice as likely to happen among motorcyclists age 60 and older than to younger riders.
Five people died in a recent Franklin County motorcycle accident, when an SUV driven by a 67-year-old Johnstown man veered into oncoming traffic. The motorcyclists the SUV struck were part of a handful of Lancaster County riders.
The SUV collided head-on with a motorcycle and spun. A passenger in the car died when a second bike hit the SUV's side. The people on the first bike, a 32-year-old male bike operator and a 27-year-old female passenger, were killed. The Mount Joy couple on the second bike, ages 53 and 67, also died in the crash.
The older SUV driver survived. Police have not determined the reason for the accident.
Response times lengthen and vision problems develop as drivers and riders age. The issues do not restrict driving privileges, as long as motorists meet legal requirements. At the same time, the naturally-developing conditions are not legitimate excuses for negligent driving.
An older driver or motorcyclist is just as liable for damages as a younger motorist. Pennsylvania claims for accident injuries and wrongful deaths may include plaintiffs and defendants of any age.
Friends, family devastated by motorcycle crash that killed two Lancaster County couples
" Cindy Stauffer, Oct. 21, 2013