Across the state of California, drivers are often exposed to a series of risks ranging from intoxicated to distracted driving. But perhaps, some of the most vulnerable drivers out on the roads are the elderly. That’s why the California Highway Patrol is joining the American Occupational Therapy Association in order to raise awareness to driver safety.
The two organizations are recognizing the dates between December 4 and 8 as the Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, encouraging drivers to learn more about the risks associated with driving later in life and how others can help the elderly to be safer motorists.
According to the organizations, as age advances, individuals will experience physical, mental, and sensory differences that may end up challenging his or her driving abilities.
Motor and vision problems are some of the first issues the elderly may deal with while behind the wheel. In order to ensure that the elderly are safe at all times, it’s important that family members and loved ones communicate their concerns when the time has come. After all, friends and family are the ones who will identify changes to driving patterns, helping older drivers understand that, perhaps, it is time for them to stop driving.
While most older drivers want to continue driving no matter what, simply so they can remain independent, many are not capable of staying independent and safe because of their health issues. While discussing these problems with loved ones may be difficult, this conversation could save a life.
According to the California Department of Motor Vehicles, drivers who are 65 or older account for 15 percent of the number of licensed drivers in the state. If these drivers are not doing all they can to stay safe, they are vulnerable both because of their age and because of their physical limitations. When you consider that older drivers were involved in 10.7 percent of all fatal collision in the state and 8.3 percent of all injury collisions in 2016, it is clear that more must be done to help the elderly be safer drivers.
Part of the CHP’s efforts to help raise awareness is the creation of a course titled “Age Well, Drive Smart.”
If you or a loved one could benefit from this program, you may learn more about it by following this link.