New tool helps seniors play it safe behind the wheel

New tool helps seniors play it safe behind the wheel

(NewsUSA)- Americans are living longer than before. If you're over 65, you are part of the fastest-growing population in the U.S., thanks to today's advanced medicine and healthier, active lifestyles.
If seniors can be found swimming, jogging and golfing, then who's to say when they become too old to get behind the wheel?
By 2020, there will be more than 40 million licensed drivers age 65 and older, according to AAA. Although they are more likely to wear their seatbelts, less likely to drink and drive, and less likely to speed, senior drivers are more likely to be seriously injured in a car crash.
Seniors have the second-highest crash death rate per mile next to teenagers, and are at the highest risk for intersection crashes. They also are more likely to injure themselves than others in a crash.
In a recent AAA survey of more than 1,000 seniors, nearly 90 percent said they drive themselves to get around on a daily basis. And next to financial security and the cost of health care, seniors are most concerned about their ability to get around in the future.
This concern, and the apprehension many families share over whether older loved ones should drive, has prompted AAA to make efforts to help seniors improve driver safety.
The automobile association has developed "Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safely Longer," a computer-based screening tool that enables older drivers to test their cognitive, physical and visual abilities in the privacy of their own homes.
The tool helps identify physiological changes that could affect driving and problem areas correlated with crash risk. For instance, it tests flexibility, the ability to see in low light and to scan across a field of view, all functional abilities critical for safe driving. "Roadwise Review" also offers practical suggestions for improvement.
The measures in AAA Roadwise Review were scientifically validated in a study of crash risk in nearly 1,000 seniors.
For more information, contact your local AAA club or visit www.aaa.com/publicaffairs