There comes a time when everyone has to stop driving. For most people, it’s not an easy decision. It’s even harder when a child has to convince a parent that it’s time to lock the door.
In his series Getting Into Their Reality: Careing For Aging Parents, news director Eric Douglas sat down with insurance expert and HeyDriver! founder Paul Moss. to get some insight. Moss has spent his 20 years collecting and analyzing driving data.
This interview has been lightly edited for clarity.
Douglas: Before we get into it, how did you become an expert on this topic?
Moss: My name is Paul Moss. I started working in insurance in the early 2000s. I always look at insurance not only as a product, but also as one of the few products that can protect a livelihood and that people work so hard for. Everyone tries to be insured about the price, but the reality is that if you don’t have the right insurance, your life can be turned upside down when the worst day happens.
Douglas: My target today is an elderly driver. What should be done to offset or prevent potential tragedies?
Moss: To help people understand what insurance companies do to older drivers so that viewers can not only keep themselves safe, but everyone else on the road. I want you to be able to protect yourself from whatever happens.
Douglas: Drivers over the age of 75 have the second highest fatality rate per mile driven, after teens. What problems arise when older drivers are involved in accidents?
Moss: Father time is unforgiving, right? As such, our reaction capacities, motor capacities, the speed at which motor capacities are activated, etc., occur at a much slower pace. Believe it or not, the effects of texting and driving aren’t just for teenagers. It actually continues throughout the ages and generations of the population. So not only is distracted driving much more common than it used to be, it doesn’t matter which population you’re talking about. But let’s say you have an inexperienced teenage driver of his who is texting while driving. Let’s say they go through a red light and you dodge it to avoid it and hit someone. So even if you’re not texting or driving and trying to avoid texting, you should be very vigilant.
This is a true story. There was a woman who drove a mile a week. And that was it. That’s the only reason she used her car, she drove to her grocery store. She didn’t have to drive on the highway. One day, she was driving when a child chased a ball out into the road. She did what everyone on this planet does. She avoided it to avoid children. That’s absolutely right, in doing so she hit the rear wheel of her bike and her bike rider flew off the handlebars and shattered her left wrist. He was a 40 year old surgeon. And he filed and won his 30-year lawsuit that made him incapable of working.
Douglas: Auto insurance rates for older drivers will increase. how does that work?
Moss: From 35 to 55 or 60, insurers see prime driving age. Since there have been few accidents during this period, insurance companies are recovering paychecks with small payments. Once you reach a certain age, they really want to write you off because they see you as a responsible person. In effect, what they’re trying to do is raise your prices every six months, every year.
And their goal is really, you buy your insurance and you leave. Because they don’t care about their salary anymore. Ultimately, they’ll force people to cancel outright and shop. But that’s how it works.
Douglas: interesting. Is there a top end they say they don’t do anymore?
Moss: It really depends on the company. Allstate has its own algorithm and State Farm has its own algorithm. But all I can say is, of the billions of dollars of insurance I’ve sold, it doesn’t matter how good a driving record I’ve historically been. There’s a stone…you’re off.
Douglas: As a child, what should I look for in my parents to say, “Hey mom, it’s time to stop”? It was simple. She didn’t fight it. But that’s where you lose your freedom. You have lost the ability to do things on your own. So what are the criteria a child should look for in order to talk to a parent?
Moss: There are certainly signs. Visual acuity deteriorates and movement slows down. But it also contains the ego. No one wants to face the fact that they are going through these changes physically. My suggestion on this is that self-actualization is really important. To be honest, do you really know if you can handle what you need in the car? Talk about other people if you can. Accidents are usually two car crashes. If you get into an accident, you could hurt someone else or even kill someone else. It’s not just about you. So if the conversation can move a little away from motor performance decline and so on and onto emotional consequences like this, then this family can be flipped, and another can be flipped. Upside down family if you are not self-actualizing. It’s a place where people want to accept reality.
The key is to be honest with yourself about your abilities. Because you can turn your own family’s life upside down and you can turn the lives of other families upside down.