Nebraska has a higher percentage of older residents than most states and a new study finds older drivers may be at a higher risk for car crashes if they have a history of falls.
Nick Jarmusz, a spokesman for AAA, says the agency’s research points to a correlation.
Jarmusz says, “Our study found a link between falls and crashes, specifically, that older drivers who have a history of falls are 40% more likely to be involved in crashes than their peers who have not had a history of falls.”
Once someone’s had a bad fall and been hurt, it’s unfortunate, but Jarmusz says it can be something of a domino effect.
“The injuries themselves that are caused by the falls can lead to a diminshed capacity,” he says. The study found the factors that may lead to a fall are the same sorts of things that may lead to issues behind the wheel.
He says Nebraskans may need to have a conversation with a loved one: “If your parent or older relative has a history of falls, it may be a good idea to talk about how that may be impacting their driving or whether it’s still safe for them to drive or to drive in certain conditions.”
The study was conducted by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
The proportion of Nebraska’s population over 60 is growing while the proportion under 60 is shrinking. The U.S. Census Bureau estimates more than 25 percent of Nebraska’s population will be over 60 by the year 2030, an increase of 32 percent from 2012.