The California Highway Patrol (CHP) joined the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and recognized Dec. 4-8, 2017, as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week.
According to the AOTA, with increasing age come changes in physical, mental and sensory abilities that can challenge a person’s continued ability to drive safely. Family and friends have a major role in identifying changes in driving behavior and beginning discussions about older driver safety. It is important to start these conversations early and discuss any needed changes in driving habits before it becomes a problem, allowing older drivers to be actively involved in the planning.
“Most drivers want to continue driving for as long as possible and maintain their independence,” CHP Acting Commissioner Warren Stanley said. “Family and friends play an important, but often difficult role, in discussing how long it is safe to continue driving.”
Data from the California Department of Motor Vehicles shows drivers age 65 and older made up approximately 15 percent of the licensed drivers in California in 2016. Last year, more than 5,100 fatal collisions were recorded in California. Preliminary data from the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System indicates drivers age 65 and older were involved in 10.7 percent of the fatal collisions and 8.3 percent of the injury collisions in California in 2016.
As part of our efforts to help California’s seniors drive safely for as long as they can, the CHP offers a free, two-hour Age Well, Drive Smart course. Through this program, seniors can sharpen their driving skills, refresh their knowledge of the rules of the road, and learn how to adjust to normal age-related physical and mental changes. Information about the free classes is available at CHP Area offices or at www.chp.ca.gov.
The mission of the California Highway Patrol is to provide the highest level of Safety, Service and Security.