Importance Of Protecting The Elderly On The Roadways

1370 Words 6 Pages
Protecting the Elderly on the Roadways
“By 2030, 85% to 90% of the 70 million Americans older than 65 are projected to have driver 's licenses, according to auto insurer AAA. That 's a substantial boost from 2009, when 33 million licensed drivers were older than 65” (qtd. in Lawrence). As the population of older Americans increases, so does the debate of when and if the government should restrict the capability of an older citizen to drive and keep a license with regard to their age. One of the strongest factors that should be taken into consideration is the health of older drivers. Older drivers have a higher crash rate than middle aged adults since the three main attributes important for driving which include vision, cognition and motor function
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With fragility, comes a higher risk in motor vehicle accidents becoming very severe or fatal. According to Joanne G. Schwartzberg, MD, director of Aging and Community Health at the American Medical Association, “The problem is that when the elderly are involved in an accident, it 's likely to be fatal,” and diseases that strike more elders such as osteoporosis make aging bodies more fragile (qtd. in Slomski). Dr. Schwartzberg reveals a very crucial point when explaining why elderly people are more suitable to fatal crashes. While any accident could be fatal, not solely because of health reasons but of any multiple factors, I found support in Dr. Schwartzberg’s point that more accidents turn fatal for older people than middle-aged drivers. An article in a Consumer Reports, had an eye-opening statistic that revealed how often elderly drivers get into fatal crashes per mile driven when compared to middle-aged drivers. I was shocked to read that elderly drivers had, “5.5 times as many fatal crashes per mile driven as middle-¬aged drivers” (Reasons Why Teenagers and Older People Are the Riskiest Drivers). For me, seeing this numerical value detailing how elders have more fatal crashes when compared to middle-aged drivers struck me because it revealed how a crash could be more …show more content…
The equipment can range from an extra bar to assist a driver, or even a passenger, who may struggle getting into the car, to equipment as simple as putting an extra cushion on a seat. Getting adaptable equipment can be recommended by driver rehabilitation specialists, or occupational therapists (United States. Department Of Transportation). Occupational therapists, specialized in driving rehabilitation, can provide a driver with disabilities helpful suggestions on what he or she may need in the car in order to make driving safer or more comfortable. According to the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), some of the equipment used by occupational therapists that can help drivers with physical disabilities, are explained in the following statement; “If foot pedals are harder to manage when diabetic changes have resulted in partial amputation, hand controls can offer a safe alternative…[and] An electronic device that detects the high-decibel sound waves of an ambulance or fire truck and alerts drivers who have a hearing impairment” (“Thursday: Equipment That Can Empower Drivers”). As a pre-occupational therapy student, I was intrigued to discover another way that occupational therapists can help people in their daily lives. The adaptable equipment listed by AOTA struck me because I

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