90 Percent of seniors could be driving safer cars
Data from a new AAA survey reveals that only one in 10 senior drivers with age-related health issues is driving a vehicle that has features that can improve safety, features such as six-way power seats, thick steering wheels and auto-dimming mirrors.
Nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffer from health issues that impact their driving safety. Finding a car that not only adapts to conditions such as lack of flexibility or muscle strength, while maintaining safety and comfort, can be difficult
“Despite a growing number of older drivers on the road, crashes and deaths involving senior drivers are 15 percent lower than they were just 10 years ago,” said Chuck Mai, spokesman for AAA Oklahoma.
“AAA suspects that a combination of safer roads, safer vehicles and safer drivers may explain this positive finding. Seniors are healthier than ever before and doing a great job of self-regulating when and where to drive. But are they as safe as they can be? We don’t think so.”
To better equip the “silver tsunami” for driving safety and comfort, AAA has updated its Smart Features for Older Drivers resource to address a broader range of health conditions and include new data on 2012 vehicle features.
Smart Features now identifies vehicle features that optimize older driver safety and comfort, lists current vehicles with those features, and allows users to explore their individual needs through an interactive online tool – available free to the public at SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
The Web site also allows free access to a Driver Planning Agreement, which helps families plan together with older family members for continued, safe mobility. (NEWS EDITORS: This agreement is attached for your use.)
“With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, we know that families will be coping with these age-related driving safety issues for years to come,” said Mai.
“The good news is that specific ‘smart features’ on today’s cars can help older drivers and their families deal with these conditions. AAA’s goal is to allow senior drivers to drive as safely as possible for as long as possible.”
Smart Features addresses a wide variety of conditions that are commonly experienced with aging, including diminished vision, arthritic joints, hip and leg pain and limited upper-body range of motion.
“As a person ages, muscle strength, range of motion and vision tend to diminish and can affect driving ability,” said Dr. Sherrilene Classen, Director, Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation at the University of Florida.
“Not only do these conditions affect a driver’s comfort, their presence can also reduce the ability to safely execute the complex task of driving.”