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.