06 December 2010


NEWS RELEASE

CONTACT: Michele Harris, director, AAA Traffic Safety Culture, (813) 289-5831 office, (813) 728-1230 cell, MMHarris@AAASouth.com

 AAA: SENIORS AND FAMILIES SHOULD PLAN AHEAD FOR CHALLENGES ASSOCIATED WITH AGING AND DRIVING

 
Older Driver Safety Awareness Week starts today (Dec. 6-10) and AAA emphasizes the importance of open and constructive communication to help keep senior drivers safe and mobile.
 
TAMPA, FLA., (December 6, 2010) – By 2030, one in five people will be at least 65 years of age, with nearly 10 million people 85 years or older—an estimated 90 percent of this demographic will be licensed to drive, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Addressing an older adult’s ability, or lack thereof, to drive safely can be uncomfortable for many families. In support of next week’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, AAA urges seniors and their families to take the first step and address this issue by having a conversation about driving and aging.
 
“People ages 65 and older are the fastest growing segment in today’s population and the issue of safe mobility for older drivers affects millions of families,” said Michele Harris, AAA director, Traffic Safety Culture. “Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is an opportunity for families to address both real and perceived challenges associated with driving and aging.”
 
AAA’s senior driver safety and mobility website, www.AAASeniors.com, offers expert advice and research-based tools for seniors and their families, many of whom have expressed frustration with the inability to locate the necessary resources to appropriately address the safety and mobility challenges often faced by older drivers. The information and tools on the site are designed to aid in prompting conversations, assessing abilities and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.
 
“Often times, conversations about an older person’s safe driving ability can evoke strong emotional reactions since concerns about personal independence can come into question,” said Harris. “AAA encourages seniors and their families to approach these sensitive conversations as opportunities for constructive communication and problem solving.”
 
As we age, new obstacles present themselves. Vision deteriorates, reaction time slows and it takes more effort to do the things that used to come easily.To help manage the inevitable consequences of aging, and the effects of aging on driving ability, AAA also offers the following resources for older drivers:
  • AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.
  • CarFit and AAA’s Smart Features for Mature Drivers help enhance seniors’ comfort and safety while driving.
  • Senior Defensive Driving classroom and online courses provide driver training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may compensate.
 
In celebration of Older Driver Awareness Week, select AAA offices will be conducting Senior Defensive Driving classes and CarFit events. For more information, please call (813) 289-5831.
 
AAA Auto Club South is the third largest affiliate of AAA, with 78 branch offices serving more than 4.1 million members in Florida, Georgia, Middle and West Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Since its founding in 1938, AAA Auto Club South has worked to protect and advance freedom of mobility and improve travel safety.
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