December 6 – 10, 2021 marks Older Driver Safety Awareness Week! According to the U.S. Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2019, Baby Boomers – people ages 55 to 73 – numbered 71.6 million, and Generation X – ages 39 to 54 – numbered 65.2 million. Without fail, the world keeps turning, and we age more with each coming day. With increasing age comes changes in physical, mental, and sensory abilities – the same abilities used to operate a motor vehicle safely. The goal of Older Driver Safety Awareness week is to promote an understanding on the importance of mobility so that older adults can remain active in the community, while also maintaining their autonomy that transportation will not be ripped from them.
45 Million Licensed Drivers over The Age of 65
According to the latest 2018 Highway Statistics report from the department of Transportation and Federal Highway Administration (FHWA), one in every five drivers putting pedal to the metal in the U.S. Of these, 8,100 adults over the age of 65 were killed in motor vehicle crashes, and 212,000 seniors needed emergency care for their injuries in 2018.
Lets puts that into perspective: 22 seniors die in car crashes and 580 are injured every day.
This is because seniors are more at risk of injury, and it’s harder for them to recover after sustaining an injury. Age-related changes in vision, memory, and decision making affect driving skills that prevent collisions.
Catering to our Changing Body
One thing the human race is notorious for doing: denying their aging. Our age holds weight to our identity as individuals. As we age, we run into some of life’s moments that put into perspective just how much time has passed. These moments are humanizing, but especially when our mortality is threatened.
Physical and mental changes such as slower reaction time, night blindness, and pain and stiffness can affect driving skills but do not need to prohibit driving altogether. The first step is being honest with yourself in taking notice of these ongoing changes.
Night-blindness may be remedied through choosing to restrict driving to daylight hours. Those who experience anxiety in heavy traffic may benefit from driving at times other than rush hour. Older adults may also enhance their safety by making sure their car’s adjustments are properly set.
- A seat belt that holds the driver in the proper position and remains comfortable while driving.
- The tilt of the steering wheel and position of the airbag.
- Plenty of room (at least 10 inches) between the chest and the airbag housed in the steering wheel.
- A properly adjusted head restraint.
- A clear line of sight above the steering wheel and dash.
- Easy access to gas and brake pedals.
- Properly adjusted mirrors.
- Ability to see around the vehicle by reducing the driver’s blind spots.
- The ability to turn the vehicle’s ignition key with ease, or operate an ignition system.
- Easy operation of vehicle controls including turn signals, headlights, emergency flashers, windshield wipers, and the parking brake, among others.
Senior Citizens’ Personal Injury Attorney
Recognizing changes in driving habits and capabilities is the first step in keeping everyone on the road safe. Collaborating to support older drivers’ goals, and the needs of the community for safe, accessible transportation makes it possible for older motorists to make adjustments based on their bodys’ needs.
Angel Reyes – Reyes Browne Reilley recognizes that Americans today are healthier and more active than ever before. What’s more, seniors are outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of seven to ten years, and senior drivers are among the safest drivers on the road. Boomers are by far more likely to wear seatbelts, not drink and drive, and obey speed limits; however, are more likely to be injured or killed due to age-related fragility. To learn more, contact us immediately for a 100% free consultation. Tap above to call us, or submit a form here now.