Seniors are generally very safe drivers. However, certain medical conditions and effects of aging can affect response times and other key skills for operating a car.
Statistics, based on all people injured or killed in traffic crashes, indicate that older drivers are at a disproportionate risk for becoming involved in fatal crashes. In a 1997 NHTSA study, older people made up 9 percent of the population but accounted for 14 percent of all traffic fatalities and 17 percent of all pedestrian fatalities.
For drivers 85 and older, the fatality rate skyrockets to nearly four times higher than that for teens (study conducted from 1999 to 2004 by Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh and the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety).
This is a heart-wrenching issue for many families, as they struggle between a loved one’s independence and desire for mobility and the safety issues. Many times, modifications can be made to improve safety for an older driver. This may be as simple as changes to the vehicle, better eye glasses or limiting driving hours to daylight. Knowing what’s safe can be tough, though.
There are resources to help with the various situations your family may find itself facing. Here are some key senior transportation and driver safety resources:
- If you aren’t sure about your loved one’s safety, you might need a professional driver evaluation. We can help you with resources for where these are conducted and how to begin the process.
- If you are struggling with the conversation or arguing over this issue, you may benefit from talking with a professional geriatric care manager, who can help you navigate this issue, facilitate the conversations and set up appropriate evaluations and resources.
- If your loved one has agreed/decided to stop driving, it is an ideal time to hire senior transportation services. There may be various options in the community and most families find some combination is most cost-effective and efficient. Hiring a home caregiver to provide senior transportation services tailored to your loved one’s needs provides the maximum flexibility. Check out our “Drive to Thrive” Senior Transportation fact sheet for a cost comparison.
Need help now? We’re here to assist! Contact us today at 727-447-5845.