Most older drivers are very safe drivers. But the fact is, as all of us age, we may experience changes in vision, physical fitness, and reflexes — changes that can affect our driving.
By understanding these changes and the risks that come with them, we can help older Vermonters stay safe, mobile, and independent. The Vermont Department of Health, in partnership with the Vermont Agency of Transportation, has launched an Older Driver Safety Program, which includes new resources and a webinar series that begins later this month. The program features information for drivers, their families, caregivers, health care providers, policymakers, and public safety officials.
People over 65 have a higher risk of being injured or killed in a traffic crash – and the likelihood increases as we age. According to the Vermont Agency of Transportation, in 2021, almost 20% of deaths and 17% of injuries on our roadways were among people 65 and older.
“Independence and mobility are important factors for maintaining our health and well-being as we age,” said Allie Breyer, information director for the Health Department’s Division of Emergency Preparedness, Response, and Injury Prevention. “There are ways we can support Vermont drivers as they get older.”
Breyer said that caregivers and loved ones play an important role in helping older drivers be mobile and safe. “It can be hard when the physical and mental impacts of aging start to affect a person’s ability to drive safely,” said Breyer. “By knowing how to recognize warning signs, learning how to have sometimes difficult conversations with an older driver, and having access to resources to meet a person’s transportation needs, we can help ensure our roadways are safe for all.”
As part of the Older Driver Safety Program, the Health Department is working with a group of statewide partners to host a webinar series, “The Road to Mobility.” The three webinars, each held from 12:00 to 1:00 p.m., include:
- Caregivers and Loved Ones: Supporting the Older Drivers in Your Lives - April 27
- Law Enforcement: Your Role in Older Driver Safety – May 25
- Policymakers and Local Decision-Makers: Creating Safe & Livable Communities – June 29
For more information and to register, visit http://www.bit.ly/road_to_mobility
“AARP has been committed to helping older drivers stay safe on the roads for many decades through our Driver Safety Program,” said Kelly Stoddard-Poor of AARP Vermont. “This webinar series builds on that work by extending the reach of our efforts to caregivers, law enforcement, and health care providers. Thanks to the resources and expertise of state transportation and health professionals, those who support and serve older Vermonters can become better informed through this program.”
The series is presented free in partnership with AARP Vermont, Vermont Highway Safety Alliance, University of Vermont Medical Center, Vermont Department of State's Attorneys & Sheriffs, Vermont Criminal Justice Council, Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles, and the Vermont Department of Disabilities, Aging, and Independent Living.
Learn more about the Older Driver Safety Program: https://www.healthvermont.gov/emergency/transportation-safety/older-adult-drivers