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Aging and DUIs: Does Your Age Change Things?

By San Diego Attorney on August 15, 2022

People are living longer an seniors continue to enjoy active lives. And this includes driving. There are over 40 million drivers over the age of 65, which is 50 percent more than there were just 20 years ago.

With more seniors driving, there’s a greater risk for problems that result from automobile collisions. In fact, over 6800 seniors die in traffic accidents annually.

As it is with every age group, drinking and driving is a major cause of automobile accidents for seniors. And seniors do become more sensitive to alcohol as they age. Older drivers will want to be aware of the changes their bodies are going through and how this may affect their driving.

How Aging Affects Your Ability to Drive

The ability to drive significantly enhances a person’s independence, and it’s understandable that seniors would want to continue to drive for as long as they can. But certain abilities will decline over time, and research indicates that seniors face increasing challenges after age 70 that can impact their driving performance. And these issues can be compounded by alcohol.

Factors related to aging that may affect one’s ability to drive safely include:

  • Stiff muscles and joints can limit a driver’s mobility, making it more difficult to operate a motor vehicle.
  • Diminished hearing can make it difficult to hear warning signs, such as honking horns, oncoming traffic, railroad crossing signals, and emergency vehicles.
  • Slowed reaction times. A short delay in breaking or steering out of harm’s way can have a devastating impact when it prevents a driver from avoiding a serious collision.
  • Diminished vision makes it more difficult for drivers to read traffic signs, see where they’re going, and recognize hazards on the road.
  • Slower mental processes. To avoid accidents, drivers must process a great deal of information quickly when performing routine procedures such as making a lane change or entering an intersection.

How Aging Affects Alcohol Consumption

Studies show that aging can influence a person’s blood alcohol level (BAC). As people get older, their metabolism changes, and this can have a big impact on how drinking affects your body.

Older citizens have less water in their system, which reduces their sensitivity to alcohol. Changes that occur in your gastrointestinal tract also make it more difficult to metabolize alcohol. When mixed with alcohol, the medications that many seniors take may seriously reduce your ability to drive safely.

How to Stay Safe on the Road

As a person ages, it’s important to monitor your health as closely as possible. Be sure to speak with your doctor if you have any health concerns that may influence your ability to drive safely.

Additional steps you can take to enhance your health and safety on the road include:

  • Eat right, get plenty of rest, and exercise
  • Get regular checkups
  • Always check medication labels for adverse reactions when mixed with alcohol
  • Get your hearing and vision checked regularly
  • Choose a designated driver before your start drinking
  • Call a taxi or rideshare service when you don’t feel up to driving

Were You Charged with a DUI in San Diego?

If you’ve been arrested for a DUI in San Diego, you could be facing the loss of your driving privileges and perhaps even jail time. Our team at jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys has over 30 years of experience successfully defending clients in DUI cases.

Give us call today at (760) 630-2000 to learn more. At jD Law Criminal Defense Attorneys, we’re on your side.

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