(SIMI VALLEY, Feb. 4, 2010) — The Automobile Club of Southern California, the Simi Valley Council on Aging, and the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, whose specialists work with seniors, will host a CarFit event for older drivers at the Simi Valley Senior Center on Saturday, March 5.
CarFit helps senior drivers over age 65 learn about how the effects of aging change the way they fit in their vehicle and how their driving can be affected. A CarFit consists of a 12-point., 20-minute checklist on the driver and the car, which includes a safety-belt, foot pedals, vision and mirrors adjustment to ensure that drivers are in a safe driving position. CarFit also offers resources in the community so seniors know where they can go for further evaluation regarding exercise, nutrition and use of adaptive devices for safe, independent driving.
The CarFit event will be held from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., at the center, 3900 Avenida Simi, 93063. Advance appointments scheduled every 20 minutes can be made by calling the Simi Valley Senior Center, 805-583-6363. Driving specialists, educators, health care professionals and traffic safety specialists will provide the CarFits.
“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 the Auto Club’s Community Relations and Traffic Safety Supervisor Anita Lorz. “The number of drivers age 55 and over who have been in traffic crashes in Simi Valley from 2000-2009 has risen 90%,” said Lorz.
Lorz noted that age affects vision, flexibility, and strength, range of motion and even size and height. “Unless seniors make adjustments, those changes may make older drivers less comfortable and reduce control behind the wheel. CarFit gives older adults the tools to help them stay on the road safely,” Lorz added.
CarFit was developed by the American Society on Aging in partnership with AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Assoc.
The number of seniors in California is growing rapidly and the state has more adults over age 65 than any other. “By 2030 there will be more than 30 million older drivers on U.S. roads,” said Lorz.
California has no upper driving age limit and state law prohibits the Dept. of Motor Vehicles from using age alone 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.