There is a negative stigma surrounding older drivers, but new research shows that the senior population of motorists is actually much safer behind the wheel than many believe. A survey of more than 7,000 seniors by AAA, the American Occupational Therapy Association and AARP found that more than one-third have made efforts to keep their driving skills sharp and nine out of 10 older motorists wear their seat belts every time they drive.
As the baby boomer generation reaches retirement age at a rate of about 10,000 daily, many people have raised concerns for road safety because people's abilities to operate vehicles can deteriorate with age. Things like vision loss and slowed reactions times may threaten a senior's driving skills, but many older drivers are seeking education and training to stay safe behind the wheel.
"The silver tsunami is often unfairly dubbed as risky and dangerous. These data tell us that they practice safe driving behaviors and that more than a third of older drivers have actively sought out and participated in programs to improve their skills," said Jake Nelson, AAA's director of traffic safety advocacy and research. He also indicated that drivers in their 80s are less likely to get into accidents than motorists in their teens and early 20s.
The research group offers a program called CarFit as a refresher course for seniors. The initiative, which often takes place at community events, targets problematic areas for senior drivers. The top four areas of focus were improper distance from the steering wheel, improper seat height, adequate and safe views from side mirrors and improper head restraint height.
Older adults looking to get behind the wheel of safe, reliable used cars can check out the selection at New Jersey State Auto Auction. The dealer carries a wide variety of makes and models, so it is easy for seniors to find the ride they're looking for.