PITTSBURG, Kan. — Keeping older adults active in their communities and maintaining safe transportation are the goals of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which is this week, Dec. 5 to 9. Normal activity such as shopping, working, volunteering and socializing should not become safety limitations or strand seniors at home, according to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
“Many seniors will experience a full lifetime of normal driving, and age alone should not be considered when evaluating driving longevity,” said Chris Bortz, assistant bureau chief of the Kansas Department of Transportation’s Bureau of Transportation Safety. “But if families have noticed changes in their older loved ones, get togethers over the holidays can be a good time to discuss senior driver health.”
According to the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA), in 2020, 55.7 million people, or 17% of the population, were over the age of 65. This same year, 17% of national traffic fatalities were those age 65 and older. Seniors are considered vulnerable road users more susceptible to serious injury and death in a crash.
The normal aging process can bring changes in physical, emotional and cognitive health. NHTSA advises senior drivers to adjust driving habits or seek alternative methods of transportation if:
If seniors are having any issues driving, they should:
For more information and resources on senior driving and transportation, visit www.nhtsa.gov/road-safety/older-drivers.
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