May 1st, 2013 by admin
Despite popular belief, senior drivers engage in safe driving habits especially older women
WASHINGTON, D.C., (May 1, 2013)–Nine in 10 older drivers buckle up when they get behind the wheel and more than a third have taken driver improvement courses, according to data surveying more than 7,000 seniors. Survey findings, collected by AAA, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and AARP also reveal that twice the number of women attended driver safety courses despite the fact that older men drove more often than older women by 12 percent. AAA is promoting the data to help debunk the perception that older drivers are a menace on the road.
“The silver tsunami is often unfairly dubbed as risky and dangerous. These data tell us that they practice safe driving behaviors and that more than a third of older drivers have actively sought out and participated in programs to improve their skills,” says AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research Jake Nelson. The findings were collected from drivers who participated in CarFit, a free program offered by AAA, AOTA and AARP. Typically offered at community events, CarFit runs drivers and their vehicles through a twelve-point checklist with trained technicians who assess the fit of a driver’s car by checking for optimum and safe settings such as distance from and sight line above the steering wheel and proper mirrors settings.
According to CarFit participant data, the top four “fit” challenges for older drivers included improper distance from steering wheel (59 percent); adequate and safe views from side mirrors (32 percent); improper seat height (28 percent) and improper head restraint height (21 percent). The good news is that after a run through the CarFit twelve-point program, 97 percent of participants’ issues were resolved.
Since CarFit launched nationally, more than 31,000 older drivers have gone through the program. “While the primary goal is to teach drivers how to attain a safe and comfortable fit, the program also increases awareness that adaptations and modifications are available when medical conditions or changes make finding the best fit difficult,” says occupational therapist Elin Schold David of AOTA. “CarFit benefits the whole community by helping the senior driver be a safer driver.”
Other survey data revealed that more than half (52 percent) of drivers 65 and older typically drive seven days a week. “Even when they’re driving every day, seniors do not pose a disproportionate threat on the roads,” said Nelson. “In fact, drivers in their mid-to-late 80s have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s and roughly half the crash rate of teenagers.”
As a leading road safety advocate for more than 110 years, AAA provides expert advice and helpful resources for older adults and their families—working to support them as they tackle the challenges of balancing safety and mobility. SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material and AAA’s Senior Driver Safety Expos offer a local hands-on opportunity to sample AAA’s suite of free tools and programs.
To view results from AAA’s survey of older drivers visit NewsRoom.AAA.com. For more information on AAA’s free resources for senior drives and their families, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
December 3rd, 2012 by admin
Washington, D.C., (Dec. 3, 2012) – With nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffering from health issues that affect 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. Data from a new AAA survey also reveals that only one in 10 senior drivers with aging health issues are driving a vehicle that has features like keyless entry and larger dashboard controls that can assist with such conditions.
- Video: “Smart Features”for Older Drivers on 2012 Cars
- Smart Features for Older Drivers Brochure
- Smart Features Vehicle List
- Smart Features Fact Sheet
- Older Driver Planning Agreement
- Motor Vehicle Crashes Fact Sheet (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
- Motor Vehicle Crashes, Injuries, and Deaths in Relation to Driver Age: United States, 1995 – 2010 Report (AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety)
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. As a leading advocate for senior driver safety, AAA launched Smart Features for Older Drivers in partnership with the University of Florida’s Institute for Mobility, Activity and Participation in 2008. In the update, Smart Features 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.
“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 AAA President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “The good news is that specific ‘smart features’ on today’s cars can help older drivers and their families deal with these conditions.”
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.”
Because everyone ages differently, AAA recommends older drivers look for vehicles that address their specific needs and medical conditions. Some of the recommendations included in Smart Features for Older Drivers include:
- Drivers suffering from hip or leg pain, decreased leg strength or limited knee range of motion should look for vehicles with six-way adjustable power seats and seat heights that come between the driver’s mid-thigh and lower buttocks. These features can make it easier for drivers to enter and exit a vehicle.
- Drivers with arthritic hands, painful or stiff fingers or diminished fine motor skills benefit from four-door models, thick steering wheels, keyless entry and ignition, power mirrors and seats and larger dashboard controls with buttons. These features reduce the amount of grip strength needed and reduce pain associated with turning or twisting motions.
- Drivers with diminished vision or problems with high-low contrast will find vehicles with auto-dimming mirrors, large audio and climate controls and displays with contrasting text helpful. These features can reduce blinding glare and make controls and displays easier to see.
Underscoring the critical need to improve older driver safety is new research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety that found that older drivers have the highest rates of death compared to other drivers largely due to their inability to survive a crash. Conversely, the research found significant gains in overall motorists’ safety in the past decade. While crashes per mile driven decreased for drivers of all ages between 1995 and 2010 by 28 percent, the biggest decreases were found in drivers ages 75-79, down 42 percent; and drivers ages 80-84, down 40 percent.
AAA is highlighting these new materials in support of the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, December 3–7, 2012. AOTA’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community—shopping, working or volunteering—with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier stranding them at home. You can learn more about the AOTA here.
For more information on which vehicles are the right fit for you and to access all the free resources AAA offers to senior drivers, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
September 12th, 2012 by admin
With eight out of 10 seniors taking medications, AAA suggests tool to help keep older drivers safe
WASHINGTON (September 12, 2012)–More than 80 percent of drivers age 65 and older regularly take medications, yet only half have talked to a medical professional about possible safety issues related to driving. With 10,000 Americans turning 65 every day, AAA today promotes Roadwise Rx to help the “silver tsunami” understand how medications may affect their ability to drive safely.
Developed by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, Roadwise Rx is an online tool that details common side effects of prescription and over-the-counter medications. The tool generates personalized feedback on how medications, herbal supplements and foods, and their interactions with each other, can impact safety behind the wheel. Drivers are encouraged to discuss the confidential results with their doctor or pharmacist to learn how to mitigate possible crash risks.
“A recent AAA survey found that women (58 percent) are more likely than men (46 percent) to seek counsel on the risks of driving while on medication, yet this is an issue that all older drivers and their families need to address,” said AAA’s President & CEO Robert Darbelnet. “Roadwise Rx lets users move beyond the old-fashioned ‘brown bag’ review with an easy way to virtually pool together their pill bottles and talk to their doctor.”
Due to chronic medical conditions, older adults often must take multiple medications. Certain types of medications, like antidepressants, have been shown to increase crash risk by up to 41 percent. Ingredients like Diphenhydramine, commonly found in over-the-counter cold and allergy medicines, can have the same effect on driving as being above the legal limit for blood alcohol concentration.
“Earlier research by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that nearly one out of five older drivers use five or more prescription medications. With medical conditions typically on the rise as people age, and treatment often dependent on medicinal interventions, there was a critical need to develop a tool to help older drivers understand the safety risk,” said AAA Foundation President and CEO Peter Kissinger. “Roadwise Rx is the only tool of its kind that looks at medications and associated driving hazards.”
It is estimated that by 2020, just eight years from now, nearly one in six people will be age 65 or older and most of them will still be licensed to drive. “As a leading road safety advocate for the last 110 years, AAA continues to provide expert advice and helpful resources for older adults and their families—working to support them as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility,” added Darbelnet.
To view results from AAA’s survey of older drivers, click here. For more information on AAA’s free resources for senior drivers and their families, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
Established by AAA in 1947, the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit, publicly-supported charitable educational and research organization. Dedicated to saving lives and reducing injuries on our roads, the Foundation’s mission is to prevent crashes and save lives through research and education about traffic safety. The Foundation has funded over 200 research projects designed to discover the causes of traffic crashes, prevent them, and minimize injuries when they do occur. This research is used to develop dozens of focused, high-impact educational materials for drivers, pedestrians, bicyclists and other road users. Visit www.aaafoundation.org or www.facebook.com/AAAFTS for more information on how you can join our cause.
April 3rd, 2012 by admin
As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, anxieties crest with first wave of “silver tsunami”
WASHINGTON (April 3, 2012)–Nearly half of senior drivers worry about losing their freedom and mobility when it’s time to give up the car keys, according to a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA). As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, AAA is helping aging drivers cope with the life-changing transitions facing the “silver tsunami” with expert advice and easy-to-find resources.
Concerned by a loss of mobility, nearly 90 percent of senior drivers indicate that the inability to drive would be a problem, with almost half claiming it a serious problem. “By 2020—just eight years from now—it’s estimated that nearly one in six people will be age 65 or older and most of them will still be licensed to drive,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “No matter how active and healthy seniors are today, it’s evident that anxiety about giving up the keys is still a top concern.”
Helping to dispel the all-too-common myth that seniors are dangerous drivers, AAA’s survey also indicates that motorists age 65 and older often “self-police” their driving or avoid driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. In fact, 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) of these drivers avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.
As a leading road safety advocate for 110 years, AAA continues to provide expert advice and helpful resources for older adults, their families and caregivers—working to support them as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material and AAA’s Senior Driver Safety Expos offer a local hands-on opportunity to sample AAA’s suite of free tools and programs including:
- AAA Roadwise Review – A computer-based screening tool that allows older drivers to measure changes in their functional abilities scientifically linked to crash risk.
- CarFit – A community-based program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them for maximum comfort and safety.
- Smart Features for Mature Drivers – A guide to help identify vehicle features that can assist drivers with the visual, physical and mental changes that are frequently encountered as they age.
View the results from AAA’s survey of older drivers. For more information on AAA’s free resources for senior drives and their families, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com. As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 53 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.
December 5th, 2011 by admin
WASHINGTON, D.C., (December 5, 2011) –
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is Dec. 5-9 and AAA emphasizes the importance of communication to help keep senior drivers safe and mobile
The first wave of America’s baby boomers turning 65 this year will be driving the “silver tsunami” says the American Automobile Association (AAA). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this segment of the population will increase by 75 percent over the next two decades. Research has shown that people today live an average of about 7-10 years beyond their safe driving ability. To aid aging drivers and their families weather the predicted forecast, AAA is helping promote Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to help get the conversation started.
“In less than 10 years, one in four licensed drivers will be age 65 and older, which means that millions of American families will be working through this challenge,” said Jake Nelson, director, AAA Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “Most families don’t know where to turn for help so by partnering with the American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, AAA hopes to raise visibility of resources and tools that will help families address real and perceived challenges associated with driving and aging.”
AAA’s senior driver safety and mobility website SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides expert advice and research-based tools for senior drivers and their families. Tools on the site are designed to aid in prompting conversations, assessing abilities and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.
Conversations about safe driving can evoke strong emotional reactions as concerns about personal independence and managing other day-to-day activities may come into question. AAA encourages seniors and their families to approach these sensitive conversations as opportunities for constructive communication and problem solving.
To help manage the effects of aging on driving ability, AAA also offers the following resources for older drivers:
- AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based self-screening tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.
- CarFit and AAA’s Smart Features for Mature Drivers help to enhance seniors’ comfort and safety while driving.
- Safe Driving for Mature Operators classroom and online courses provide driver training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may compensate.
For more information about Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, please visit AAA.com/PublicAffairs.
As North America’s largest motoring and leisure travel organization, AAA provides more than 52 million members with travel, insurance, financial and automotive-related services. Since its founding in 1902, the not-for-profit, fully tax-paying AAA has been a leader and advocate for the safety and security of all travelers. AAA clubs can be visited on the Internet at AAA.com.