AAA Calls Centenarian Crash a Wake Up Call for Families

(WASHINGTON, August 30, 2012) Yesterday’s crash involving an older driver that injured school children is a wake-up call for families to have a conversation with the aging drivers in their lives. As a leading advocate on older driver safety issues for over a decade, AAA has been investing in evidence-based tools and resources to help aging Americans cope with the life-changing transition from driver to passenger.

With 10,000 Americans a day turning 65, an increasing number of families will be faced with the challenge of balancing safety and mobility for older loved ones.  “The driver’s daughter Ms. Jenkins was right that this crash was a ‘wake up call.’  We know from research that families don’t know where to turn for help or how to get the conversation started,” said AAA’s Director of Traffic Safety Advocacy and Research. “AAA urges families to prepare now, before they get their own wake up call.”

While incidents like yesterday raise public concerns about senior drivers, AAA is working to dispel the all-too-common myth that seniors are among the nation’s most dangerous drivers when just the opposite is true.  “Recent data tells us that drivers in their 70s get into about the same number of crashes per mile driven as do drivers in their 30s,” said Nelson.  “On average, drivers in their mid- to late-80s still have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s, and roughly half the crash rates of teenagers—the nation’s riskiest drivers.”

Nelson also highlights results of a national AAA survey that shows 80 percent of senior drivers “self-police” their driving by voluntarily avoiding one or more higher-risk driving situations like driving at night or during rush-hour times of day.

In April, AAA launched an older driver website that provides free tools, resources, and expert guidance not only to seniors, but to families and caregivers who may be concerned about the safety of their aging loved ones and those who share the road with them.  For more information on AAA’s free resources for senior drives and their families, including how to begin addressing this challenging issue today, 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.

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