New research reveals ways to keep senior drivers safer, longer


Studies released in conjunction with Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Staff report



A record 36 million adults age 65 and older drive in the United States and this number continues to grow. In conjunction with Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 7-11, 2015), AAA is releasing two new studies, which reveal certain vehicle features and self-regulation of driving can help keep seniors driving safer, longer.

Improving Safety and Comfort:

As people age, conditions that affect driving, such as changes in vision, reaction time and range of motion become more prevalent and often reduce comfort and control behind the wheel.

To determine if vehicle features can help improve senior mobility, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute examined 16 advanced vehicle features. Researchers focused on how older drivers use these features, what they think of them, and the safety and/or comfort benefits they provide.

The report outlines the top six features that can potentially reduce crashes and improve the ease and comfort of driving for older adults:

Forward collision warning/mitigation: These systems can help prevent crashes by warning drivers of a potential collision or by automatically applying the brakes. For older drivers, it can improve reaction times and reduce crashes by up to 20 percent.

Automatic crash notification: These systems automatically alert emergency services of a crash. Older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash and unable to contact emergency services on their own.

Park assist with rearview display: This includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which help prevent crashes when backing up. About 95 percent of seniors say they want these systems in their next vehicle.

Park assist with cross-traffic warning: These systems notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and some vehicles automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision.

Semi-autonomous park assist: These systems take over steering while parallel parking.

Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS navigation can provide older drivers with increased feelings of safety and confidence.

Self-Regulating Driving:

While older drivers are notoriously safe drivers that are more likely to wear their seat belts, less likely to drive distracted, and less likely to speed than other age groups, age-related conditions make them more likely to be injured or killed in a crash.

Research finds self-regulation can help keep older drivers safer behind the wheel. Self-regulation can include:

Decisions to avoid challenging driving situations, such as driving at night, in bad weather, during rush-hour traffic, in unfamiliar areas or on the highway.

Defensive driving practices and attentiveness while on the road.

Life choices about where to live and which car to drive.

“Permanently giving up the keys can have severe consequences for the health and mental well-being of older adults,” said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety president and CEO. “New technologies and a focus on safe driving can help seniors remain behind the wheel for years to come.”New Research Reveals Ways to Keep Senior Drivers Safer, Longer

Studies released in conjunction with Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

A record 36 million adults age 65 and older drive in the United States and this number continues to grow. In conjunction with Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 7-11, 2015), AAA is releasing two new studies, which reveal certain vehicle features and self-regulation of driving can help keep seniors driving safer, longer.

Improving Safety and Comfort:

As people age, conditions that affect driving, such as changes in vision, reaction time and range of motion become more prevalent and often reduce comfort and control behind the wheel.

To determine if vehicle features can help improve senior mobility, The AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety and University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute examined 16 advanced vehicle features. Researchers focused on how older drivers use these features, what they think of them, and the safety and/or comfort benefits they provide.

The report outlines the top six features that can potentially reduce crashes and improve the ease and comfort of driving for older adults:

Forward collision warning/mitigation: These systems can help prevent crashes by warning drivers of a potential collision or by automatically applying the brakes. For older drivers, it can improve reaction times and reduce crashes by up to 20 percent.

Automatic crash notification: These systems automatically alert emergency services of a crash. Older drivers are more likely to be seriously injured in a crash and unable to contact emergency services on their own.

Park assist with rearview display: This includes backup cameras and obstacle-detection warning systems, which help prevent crashes when backing up. About 95 percent of seniors say they want these systems in their next vehicle.

Park assist with cross-traffic warning: These systems notify drivers of crossing vehicles when backing out of a parking space, and some vehicles automatically apply the brakes to prevent a collision.

Semi-autonomous park assist: These systems take over steering while parallel parking.

Navigation assistance: Turn-by-turn GPS navigation can provide older drivers with increased feelings of safety and confidence.

Self-Regulating Driving:

While older drivers are notoriously safe drivers that are more likely to wear their seat belts, less likely to drive distracted, and less likely to speed than other age groups, age-related conditions make them more likely to be injured or killed in a crash.

Research finds self-regulation can help keep older drivers safer behind the wheel. Self-regulation can include:

Decisions to avoid challenging driving situations, such as driving at night, in bad weather, during rush-hour traffic, in unfamiliar areas or on the highway.

Defensive driving practices and attentiveness while on the road.

Life choices about where to live and which car to drive.

“Permanently giving up the keys can have severe consequences for the health and mental well-being of older adults,” said Peter Kissinger, AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety president and CEO. “New technologies and a focus on safe driving can help seniors remain behind the wheel for years to come.”

Studies released in conjunction with Older Driver Safety Awareness Week

Staff report

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