Are Elderly Drivers Really Scary? Advice For Age Friendly Driving
A report on Channel 7 WKBW from Ed Reilly and Jeff Russo from caught my eye. A video caught a driver accelerating out a parking lot across two lanes of traffic, over a median strip, and then through another two lanes of traffic. The local police officer reported, the elderly driver behind the wheel became confused and stepped on the accelerator instead of the brake pedal. Are elderly drivers more prone to accidents? The answer is an unequivocal, no! Elderly drivers are one of the safest groups on the road. They wear their seatbelts, are more likely to obey speed limits, and more importantly they self regulate when and where they drive. What happened?
Reducing Risk Factors For Elderly Drivers
My expertise tells me, the drivers confusion might be related to a medication interaction or an undiagnosed medical condition. The American Automobile Association reported, more than 75 percent of drivers age 65 or older report using one or more medications. Less than one-third are aware of the potential impact of the medications on their driving. This gap in unawareness is now becoming a topic of conversation as our population increases in age. As a gerontologist I’ve been working with startups focused on the gaps in lifelong learning. The topic of how older drivers with decades of experience can maintain their ability to drive safely has been underserved.
It’s also about to change! Older adults are becoming more involved in taking action to improve their health. Family members are getting involved earlier. Those of us in the gerontology field are working to make information easily accessible.
If you have questions regarding experienced drivers and senior transportation please contact me with your questions at mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org.
Judi Bonilla is a gerontologist, social entrepreneur, Director of Program Innovation at Advocates For Aging, and a personal home advisor with Keepsake Companions. Her latest book Freewheeling after Sixty is planned for a summer 2016 release. Previously she was a fellow for Hispanic In Philanthropy and Senior Service America, Inc. Bonilla has spoken at South by Southwest (SXSW) the American Society on Aging, and Certified Senior Advisors conferences. She has received a Special Commendation from the City of San Diego for the inaugural Older Driver Awareness Week in San Diego, the Jack Gorelick Achievement Award for her passionate commitment and perseverance to the growth of the profession of travel instruction from the Association of Travel Instruction and the Innovative Transportation Solutions Award from Women In Transportation.