Study Links Falls By Older Adults With Driving Accidents

Older drivers who’ve had a history of falling are much more likely to be involved in crashes, according to a new study by Colorado researchers.

Researchers at the University of Colorado found older drivers with a history of falling are 40 percent more likely to be involved in crashes than their peers.

Lead author Ken Scott says one reason may be because an injury, like to a wrist or a leg, can make it harder to steer or brake.

“It could be that fall injuries ... affect people’s functional abilities," Scott said.

He said falls can heighten a person’s fear of falling. That can lead to a decrease in physical activity, which may hamper driving skills.

“Even if they don’t get injured during that first fall, that fear can really lead to reduced physical activity and physical deconditioning," Scott said.

The research suggests older drivers should try to stay physically fit, and that families should view falls as a possible early sign of declining fitness.

The study was released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.