HAMILTON – Nearly 90 percent of senior drivers say it’s important to them to keep driving – and they will do what it takes to stay safe, according to a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA). As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, AAA re-launched the website www.seniordriving.aaa.com to help drivers and their families cope with the life-changing transitions facing the “silver tsunami.”
AAA’s survey indicates that motorists age 65 and older often “self-police” their driving or avoid driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. In fact, 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) of these drivers avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.
“By 2020—just eight years from now—it’s estimated that nearly one in six people will be age 65 or older and most of them will still be licensed to drive,” said AAA President and CEO Robert L. Darbelnet. “No matter how active and healthy seniors are today, it’s evident that anxiety about giving up the keys is still an age-old concern.”
To help manage the effects of aging on driving ability, AAA Mid-Atlantic also offers the following resources for older drivers:
- AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based self-screening tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.
- CarFit and AAA’s Smart Features for Mature Drivers help to enhance seniors’ comfort and safety while driving.
- Safe Driving for Mature Operators classroom and online courses provide driver training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may compensate.
According to TRIP, a national transportation research group, New Jersey has more than 1 million drivers who are 65 and older – about 17 percent of the state’s total number of licensed drivers. In 2010 there were 119 fatalities in New Jersey crashes involving senior drivers.
The top ten states for fatalities involving a driver 65 or older are (in order of most to least) Florida, Texas, California, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Georgia, New York, Ohio, Michigan and Tennessee. New Jersey is ranked 19th.
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