Recently, AAA issued a new release informing the public that prior studies which concluded that the elderly are unsafe drivers are clearly wrong. In fact, older drivers practice safe driving behaviors and that more than a third of older drivers have actively sought out and participated in programs to improve their skills. The findings were collected from drivers who participated in CarFit, a free program offered by AAA, AOTA and AARP. Typically offered at community events, CarFit runs drivers and their vehicles through a twelve-point checklist with trained technicians who assess the fit of a driver’s car by checking for optimum and safe settings such as distance from and sight line above the steering wheel and proper mirrors settings.
According to CarFit participant data, the top four œfit challenges for older drivers included improper distance from steering wheel (59 percent); adequate and safe views from side mirrors (32 percent); improper seat height (28 percent) and improper head restraint height (21 percent). The good news is that after a run through the CarFit twelve-point program, 97 percent of participants’ issues were resolved. Other survey data revealed that more than half (52 percent) of drivers 65 and older typically drive seven days a week. œEven when they’re driving every day, seniors do not pose a disproportionate threat on the roads, said Nelson. œIn fact, drivers in their mid-to-late 80s have lower crash rates per mile driven than drivers in their early 20s and roughly half the crash rate of teenagers.