(LOS ANGELES, April 3, 2012– Nearly half of senior drivers say they worry about losing their freedom and mobility when it’s time to give up the car keys, according to a recent survey by the American Automobile Association (AAA). As 10,000 Americans turn 65 every day, AAA is helping aging drivers cope with the life-changing transitions facing the “silver tsunami” with expert advice and easy-to-find resources on the new SeniorDriving.AAA.com web site.
Concerned by a loss of mobility, nearly 90 percent of senior drivers indicate that the inability to drive would be a problem, with almost half claiming it a serious problem. “By 2020—just eight years from now—it’s estimated that nearly one in six people will be age 65 or older and most of them will still be licensed to drive,” said Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Automobile Club of Southern California’s community affairs and traffic safety manager. “No matter how active and healthy seniors are today, anxiety about giving up the keys and losing independence is still a concern.”
To help older drivers remain mobile and also to launch the SeniorDriving.AAA.com web site, older drivers in Downey can get “fit” to drive safely as part of the Automobile Club of Southern California and Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center upcoming CarFit® program. The program helps seniors over 55 learn how the effects of aging change the way they fit in their vehicle and how their driving can be affected, according to Anita Lorz Villagrana, the Auto Club’s community affairs and traffic safety manager.
The free-by-appointment only CarFit event will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Wednesday at Rancho Los Amigos National Rehabilitation Center, 7601 E. Imperial Highway, 90242. Required appointments scheduled every 20 minutes can be made by calling Mary Hernandez or Dearlise Sowell at 562- 401-7464.
Helping to dispel the myth that seniors are dangerous drivers, AAA’s survey also indicates that motorists age 65 and older often “self-police” their driving or avoid driving situations that put them at greater risk of a crash. In fact, 80 percent of senior drivers voluntarily avoid one or more high-risk driving situations. More than half (61 percent) of these drivers avoid driving in bad weather; 50 percent avoid night driving; 42 percent avert trips in heavy traffic and 37 percent avoid unfamiliar roads.
As a leading road safety advocate for more than a century, the Auto Club continues to provide expert advice and helpful resources for older adults and their families—working to support them as they tackle the challenge of balancing safety and mobility. SeniorDriving.AAA.com provides convenient, online access to a wealth of interactive material. AAA’s Senior Driver Safety Expos offer a local hands-on opportunity to sample AAA’s suite of free tools and programs include the following:
- AAA Roadwise Review – A computer-based screening tool that allows older drivers to measure changes in their functional abilities scientifically linked to crash risk.
- CarFit – A community-based program that offers older adults the opportunity to check how well their personal vehicles “fit” them for maximum comfort and safety.
- Smart Features for Mature Drivers – A guide to help identify vehicle features that can assist drivers with the visual, physical and mental changes that are frequently encountered as they age.