An overwhelming majority of senior drivers support greater scrutiny in the license-renewal process for themselves and their peers, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s latest report on aging Americans.
More than seven out of 10 drivers age 65 and older favor policies that require drivers age 75 and older to renew their license in person, and also support requirements that seniors pass a medical screening to remain licensed.
The AAA Foundation’s report Older American Drivers and Traffic Safety Culture also found: Nearly 80 percent of drivers over age 75 favor medical screenings for drivers age 75 and older. About 90 percent of older drivers (65 and older) reported no crashes in the last two years. Similarly, 90 percent of older drivers reported no moving violations. 65 percent of drivers age 75 and older reported never using a cell phone while driving compared to only 48 percent of the younger “older” drivers (age 65-69) who never use a phone when behind the wheel
“Even though public perception tends to unfairly characterize seniors as a menace on the road, these findings indicate that older Americans tend to support policies to keep themselves safer behind the wheel, making them key allies in their mission to keep driving — smarter and longer.” said Peter Kissinger, President and CEO of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.
Earlier this year, the AAA Foundation also released the Understanding Older Drivers: an Examination of Medical Conditions, Medication Use and Travel Behaviors report that found: 86 percent of those age 65 and older still drive. 84 percent of Americans age 65 and older hold a driver’s license compared to barely half in the early 1970s. 68 percent of drivers age 85 and older report driving five or more days a week
In addition to these reports, the AAA Foundation is currently taking a long-term look at aging drivers with a study that will systematically monitor the driving habits of more than 3,000 senior drivers over the next five years.
“As older adults spend an increasing amount of time behind the wheel, it’s important they take advantage of opportunities to stay driving safely, said Gene LaDoucer, AAA spokesman, The Auto Club Group. “Years of driving experience coupled with activities to reduce crash risk can extend their safe driving years.”
The AAA Foundation and AAA are promoting these latest findings to support Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, Dec. 1-5, 2014. Established by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), this week aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community and that transportation will not be the barrier stranding them at home.