To help older drivers to remain mobile and in recognition of Older Americans Month in December, senior drivers in Los Angeles can get “fit” to drive safely by the Automobile Club of Southern California, LAPD and other senior services organizations at the Pan Pacific Senior Center during its upcoming CarFit® event. The educational program is designed to help seniors over 55 learn how the effects of aging change the way they fit in their vehicle and how their driving can be affected.
The free-by-appointment only CarFit event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 6, at the Pan Pacific Senior Center, 141 S. Gardner St. 90036. Required appointments scheduled every 20 minutes can be made by calling 714-885-2312.
CarFit’s 12-point, 15-minute checklist on the driver and the car, includes reviewing seat-belt adjustment, foot pedals, vision and mirrors and other features to ensure that senior drivers are “correctly fitted” to their vehicles. An occupational therapist who specializes in driver rehabilitation will offer advice on ways a driver can maintain and strengthen their driving health, including places where they can go for further evaluation regarding adaptive devices, exercise and nutrition.
The senior population in California is growing rapidly and the state has the most adults over age 65. “If 75 percent of seniors are licensed in 2025 that will equal 6.5 million licensed drivers,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community affairs and traffic safety manager.
“The Auto Club believes that people should be able to keep driving as long as they want to – if they can do so safely,” said Lorz Villagrana. The Auto Club, and agencies it has trained, have provided car “fits” to more than 3,000 senior motorists throughout the Southland. Community specific resources also will be provided, including information about the Auto’s Club’s new SeniorDriving.AAA.com web site.
CarFit gives a quick, comprehensive check by occupational therapists, senior living specialists and traffic safety health educators on how well a senior driver and their vehicle work together. CarFit was developed by the American Society on Aging with AAA, AARP and American Occupational Therapy Assoc.
Lorz Villagrana noted that age affects vision, flexibility, and strength, range of motion and even size and height. “CarFit helps drivers make adjustments so they are more comfortable and have more control behind the wheel,” she said.
California has no upper driving age limit and state law prohibits the Dept. of Motor Vehicles from using age to require a behind-the-wheel test at renewal. However, motorists 70 or older must renew their license in person rather than through the mail.