Wednesday, May 28, 2008

What Does the Older Driver Guide Recommend?

The older drivers guide (Volume 9) includes 5 overarching objectives and 19 specific strategies. Volume 9 focuses on accommodating older drivers on the roadway as well as sustaining their driving proficiencies. The following sections offer highlights from the guidance and strategies.

Plan for an Aging Population.
The tenet behind the AASHTO Strategic Highway Safety Plan is that a comprehensive, integrated approach is needed to significantly reduce highway deaths and injuries, especially for improving the safety of older road users. Statistics clearly demonstrate the urgent need for action, which must go beyond the efforts of a single department, agency, or organization. The guide supports the principle that, "like the national plan, these State and local action plans need to reflect the input of a broad consortium of governmental agencies and organizations and interests in the private sector. Although State transportation departments can lead the effort, they need to create partnerships with other departments and agencies at the State, regional, and local levels." Potential collaborators include State offices on aging, area agencies on aging, transportation service providers, social service agencies, and various private sector organizations. Perhaps most important, seniors themselves need to be involved in the planning process.
The guide identifies several States and metropolitan planning organizations that already have addressed the challenge of planning for an aging driving population. These include California, Florida, Iowa, Maryland, Michigan, and Maricopa County in Arizona. The electronic version of the guide includes links to actual planning documents that the States have developed. Patti Yanochko, program coordinator at the Center for Injury Prevention Policy & Practice in San Diego, CA, helped direct efforts in California. She says, "All of our many task force members and consultants worked diligently and with passion to produce recommendations that are meaningful and improve safety and quality of life for older adults."

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