Why are older drivers a concern?
Driving a car is not just a way to get from one place to another. It can represent who we are and how we conduct our lives. For senior citizens, driving represents the ability to maintain connections and contribute to the community.
counterparts. They regulate their own driving behavior to remain safely on the road. Most older drivers restrict or stop driving when they experience changes in their ability to drive, such as declining central vision, cognitive changes, losing confidence to drive or feeling uncomfortable or insecure traveling at certain times or under certain conditions. But some older drivers don't want to give up driving. While vision, memory, physical strength, reaction time, and flexibility may decline as we age, the percentage of change varies among older adults.
Statistically, older drivers are more likely to be harmed or die in a car crash than other age groups. For instance, persons ages 65 and over had a traffic fatality rate that was nearly 30% higher than that of the total population in 2001. Older drivers, especially those over 75, are more likely than younger drivers over the age of 20 to suffer injuries or die when involved in a car crash.
In order to continue to drive safely longer, it is important for older drivers to improve their functioning by learning compensatory strategies or using adaptive equipment in their cars. Some older adults may need to learn alternative ways to get around. Families and communities also can help them make easier transitions from driving full-time to cutting back and/or retiring from driving.