Older Driver Safety / Safe Mobility for Life
MVA is partnering with American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) in recognizing Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 2-6, 2013) to raise awareness of ways to keep older drivers safe on the road.
Whether we want to admit it or not, aging is inevitable. The ability to drive safely can be affected by changes in our physical, emotional, and cognitive health. Although changes are a part of normal aging, they occur individually and at different rates and times. Just as one plans for retirement, it's important to plan for transportation needs. Proactive, early planning is paramount to continued independence and safety. Occupational therapy practitioners address driving as an essential activity of daily living, and they can help older adults maintain their driving safety and community mobility despite age-related changes. Click here for Maryland Driver Rehabilitation Programs.
3 “Bs” of Older Driver Safety
The aging process may result in medical problems that affect safe driving, such as:
- Physical impairments – reduced muscle strength to push pedals and grip the steering wheel, neck flexibility to check before changing lanes
- Vision Impairments – good eyesight accounts for more than 85% of being able to drive safely
- Cognitive Impairments – safe driving requires the ability to reason and remember in judging time & distance to stop and responding to road signs and signals
Each driver referred to MVA’s medical review process is provided an individual review of medical fitness and functional capacity to drive safely – licensing is NOT determined by age or by a medical diagnoses
Occupational Therapists trained in driving rehabilitation can provide a comprehensive driving evaluation, recommend the use of vehicle adaptive equipment and teach driving strategies for continuing to drive safely
CarFit provides a quick, free, confidential check of your vehicle’s safety features and setting them properly to best help you drive safely and protect you in case of a crash
Get yourself a Driving Buddy – someone who promises to drive with you from time to time and give you frank feedback on how comfortable they feel driving with you
Start those tough conversations with family members on safe driving, and develop a plan for transitioning from driving when the time comes – long before a crisis or a crash
Speak up and, if appropriate, make a referral to the MVA; you may prevent a crash by identifying someone who is a danger to themselves or others on the roadway
Age alone does not make unsafe drivers, and licensing is NOT determined by a diagnoses. If someone questions whether you are medically qualified to drive, MVA focuses on functional ability … not age or disease … and provides an individual review on fitness to drive.
- Helpful Tips for Older Drivers
- Helpful Tips for Family & Friends of an Older Driver
- Helpful Tips for Health Care Professionals of Older Drivers
- Senior Driving and Health– Resource for Physicians & Patients
- Medications & Driving
- Maryland Older Driver Safety Symposium
- Maryland Older Driver Statistics
- Additional Resources