Many people tend to consider younger drivers the most likely to drive while under the influence of alcohol. However, people of all ages make this mistake — including senior citizens.
Seniors can be more at risk than younger people of being involved in a DUI-related crash because there are often other factors at play. As we get older, we don’t metabolize alcohol the way we used to. People who drove after a few drinks (or more) in their 30s and 40s without incident may find that when they get into their late 60s, the same amount of alcohol leads to serious impairment of their driving ability.
In addition to the changes in the way alcohol affects older bodies, people’s vision and reflexes also decline as they age. These changes, coupled with alcohol, can impact a driver’s ability to react quickly.
Another factor is prescription medications. Seniors commonly take one or more prescription medications. Many prescription drugs include warnings not to drink while on them. Doing so can cause sleepiness and confusion.
Any medication (prescription or over-the-counter) can have an impact on a person’s ability to drive safely, with or without alcohol. When you have any combination of alcohol, prescription medication, medical marijuana and/or even a seemingly innocent over-the-counter medication in your system, you could have a recipe for disaster on the road.
By 2030, it’s estimated that more than 15 percent of drivers will be 65 or over. The number of seniors on the road will only be increasing in the coming years. Therefore, as people at the younger end of the baby boomer generation need to begin thinking about exercising extreme caution about drinking and driving if they didn’t before. If you or a loved one is facing DUI charges, it’s wise not to take on the justice system alone. An experienced attorney can provide needed advice and guidance.
Source: McKnight’s Senior Living, “Older adults and alcohol don’t always mix,” Steven Kellis, Esq., March 12, 2018