(SAN MARCOS, Oct. 26, 2009) — Older drivers in San Marcos learn how the effects of aging change the way they fit in their vehicles and how their driving can be affected as part of the Automobile Club of Southern California’s CarFit® program.
The free CarFit event for motorists aged 55 and older is available by appointment only. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 19, at the San Marcos Senior Center, 111 Richmar Ave. Appointments are available every 20 minutes and can be made by calling the center at (760) 744-5535.
The program consists of a 12-point, 15-minute checklist on the driver and the car, which includes seat-belt and seat-height adjustments, foot pedals, and vision and mirrors 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 community resources where seniors can go for further evaluation regarding exercise, nutrition and adaptive devices.
Participants attending the CarFit event will receive a free goodie bag and a Roadwise Review computerized assessment tool designed to test physiological functions related to driving.
The number of seniors in California is growing rapidly and the state has more adults over age 65 than any other.
“If 75 percent of seniors are licensed in 2025 that will equal 6.5 million licensed drivers,” said Anita Lorz, the Auto Club’s community relations and traffic safety team lead. “The Auto Club believes that people should be able to keep driving as long as they want to – if they can do so safely.”
The Auto Club has provided car “fits” to 1,500 senior motorists throughout the Southland.
The Auto Club, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, AARP and the center are hosting the event as part of a larger training program for many San Marcos organizations so they can offer future CarFit events. Agencies attending the training include: University of California, San Diego, Sharp Rehabilitation Center, University of St. Augustine and other organizations that work with the older population.
The CarFit program is designed to give 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 in partnership with AAA, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association.
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,” she said.