The Colorado Department of Transportation is joining forces with local programs to observe Older Driver Safety Awareness Week from Monday, December 7 to Friday, December 11 to promote the importance of mobility and transportation for older adults while ensuring they remain active without transportation posing as a barrier.
A total of 122 drivers over 65 years old were involved in fatal crashes last year, in addition to 77 older drivers dying in car crashes the same year. Individuals who are 65 years and older are at higher risk of getting very ill from COVID-19 and are advised to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines when considering travel options.
Research shows that older adults can expect to outlive their ability to drive safely by seven to ten years. Older drivers are more prone to being killed or seriously injured in a collision due to their aging bodies’ greater fragility.
One proactive way for older adults to enhance their safety behind the wheel is to ensure that their car is properly adjusted. Last year the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT) sponsored a total of 57 CarFit events statewide.
Things volunteers at CarFit events check for are as follows:
- A seat belt that holds the driver in the proper position and remains comfortable while driving.
- The tilt of the steering wheel and position of the airbag.
- Plenty of room (at least 10 inches) between the chest and the airbag
- A properly adjusted head restraint.
- A clear line of sight above the steering wheel and dash.
- Easy access to gas and brake pedals.
- Properly adjusted mirrors.
- Ability to see around the vehicle by reducing the driver’s blind spots.
- The ability to turn the vehicle’s ignition key with ease or operate an ignition system.
- Easy operation of vehicle controls, including turn signals, headlights, emergency flashers, windshield wipers, and the parking brake, among others.
The CarFit program hosts a series of Virtual Workshops to provide an in-depth look into several key aspects involved in getting a proper fit in a vehicle. These workshops will educate seniors on what to look for when it comes to fit, everyday household objects that can be used to measure and make adjustments and how this may keep drivers safer on the road.
“With increasing age come changes in physical, mental, and sensory abilities that can challenge a person’s continued ability to drive safely,” said Sylvia Cordy, a traffic safety advocate with the Denver-based Reaching Older Adult Drivers program. “But there are a variety of safe travel options, and focusing on these solutions is key,” Sylvia said.
For more information regarding registering for a virtual workshop, visit: www.car-fit.org or to learn more about Colorado’s Guide for Aging Drivers and Their Families, visit: firstname.lastname@example.org