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Study: Street Road Corridor Dangerous for Seniors

Warminster's Street Road corridor was named by AAA the third most dangerous highway for senior drivers in the Philadelphia region.

According to a new report released by AAA, 23 injuries from 31 crashes within a five-year period has made the Street Road corridor in Warminster one of the most dangerous highways for seniors in the Philadelphia region.

The study, conducted by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, PennDOT, local and state agencies and AAA, has been released in recognition of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. According to data collected between 2008 and 2012, approximately 19,000 vehicles travel along the Street Road corridor through Warminster each day.

With Ann's Choice Retirement Community, Walmart and the SEPTA station within a mile of each other, the area is the third-most susceptible location for senior-related crashes in the region.

Highway deaths are up in Pennsylvania, for senior drivers.  According to PennDOT, there were 276 senior driver (65+) fatalities in in the state last year, an increase of 32 deaths compared to 2011, and about 21 percent of the state's total of 1,310 highway fatalities. While seniors are generally safe drivers, they are slightly over-represented in the fatalities due to weaker health which may affect ability to recover from crash injuries.

“There are nearly 1.5 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the Commonwealth, making up 17 percent of Pennsylvania's driving population, and while there is no singular factor to look at in terms of stopping driving; PennDOT continually seeks to balance the safety of our roadways with the impact of loss of independence, autonomy, and mobility of the older driver,” said Brad Rudolph, PennDOT Safety Press Officer.

“We encourage mature drivers to take control, to evaluate and improve their abilities, to keep driving safer and longer,” said Jenny M. Robinson, Manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Don’t wait until a family member or medical professional has ‘the talk’, or approaches you to take away the keys.  Take a driver improvement course, attend a CarFit program, make sure your vehicle fits your needs, and decide whether to limit your own driving, such as avoiding nighttime or bad weather.”

Nearly 90 percent of motorists 65 and older suffer from health concerns that affect driving safety, for example, lack of flexibility and muscle strength, or diminished vision.  To help inform seniors about smart car choices, AAA’s automotive experts reviewed more than 200 2013 model year vehicles to identify features that better equip seniors for driving safety and comfort in an update to Smart Features for Mature Drivers.

Nearly 90 percent of senior drivers say it’s important to them to keep driving – and they will do what it takes to stay safe, according to a survey by the American Automobile Association.  

AAA’s survey 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.

Steven Shawn Kurz Sr December 04, 2013 at 08:11 AM
I'd say it's dangerous many times due to the driving of seniors. This area has a large area if senior homes and many senior drivers who many times are the culprits of the bad driving...
Lynette Dempsey December 04, 2013 at 08:37 AM
I agree somewhat Steven but people in general are bad drivers. I find the light's are poorly timed. The intersection at Jacksonville and Street is a joke! Whoever thought up the timing of those lights should be ashamed! And slow down. Everyone is in a hurry to get one car ahead of the next one!
ForAndAgainst December 04, 2013 at 10:02 AM
Lynette I totally agree with the timing of those lights. MORONIC! I also think the traffic for Walmart should come in and out over by bucks landing rather then dump out on jacksonville. I also agree with steven as well. The seniors that do drive around street road are putting everyone at risk going 20mph when it is clearly 45. People get mad and try to rush around them. Causing poor judgment. It is 45mph for a reason, so drive it. I called in a 'senior' to police a few months ago. They came out of ann's choice without headlights on, without turn signals, made a right while in the left turning lane..it was ridiculous!
Trish E December 04, 2013 at 10:23 AM
I too tried to call in to warminster township and penndot the traffic light going eastbound on street road at jacksonville. While left turns are red the thru lanes are green but the lights are so close together that it is very confusing especially for the seniors. I called warminster who said to call penndot who passed it back to warminster. No one will take responsibility until someone dies. Consider this your notice warminster and penndot!
Benita Larmer December 07, 2013 at 09:11 PM
none of the lights in the neighborhoods are properly timed. Getting out of any neighborhood is stressful. The light is green for several minutes going straight on any main artery, while the lights allowing people out of a neighborhood are green only long enough for maybe 2-3 cars to get through! This applied to any light along York Rd, Jacksonville Rd, Mearns Rd (especially that crazy light at Ivyland & Mearns). The lights need to stay green at least 1.5 minutes so that cars can get out of the neighborhoods and onto the main roads. In addition, there are way too many seniors driving that really shouldn't be. They are afraid to drive within 10 miles of the speed limits, cross over lanes abruptly, cut people out, and unfortunately, we have so many senior communities in the area that it's almost like driving in Fla! It is a medical fact that as we age, out response time, thought process and common sense is impaired, so I cannot understand why there is no process for retesting after a certain age. It is not age discrimination, is is medical factual statistics! It takes someone totalling a car in their 80s to get the family to take away the keys, all you can hope for is that no one gets seriously hurt or killed!

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