For some, the ability to drive is a true sign of independence. Driving plays an important role in maintaining an active, fulfilling lifestyle. As part of the California Highway Patrol’s (CHP) mission of providing the highest level of “Safety, Service, and Security” to people throughout the state, the CHP remains steadfast in maintaining and improving traffic safety and mobility for California’s older drivers.
The CHP joins with the American Occupation Therapy Association (AOTA) in recognizing Dec. 2-6, 2013, as Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. The older driver traffic safety campaign is held by AOTA each year in December because this is the time of year when families get together for the holidays. This provides an opportunity for families to have conversations, including discussing the driving skills of an older family member.
“This is often a difficult discussion to have with a person because many older drivers consider driving a form of independence,” said CHP Commissioner Joe Farrow. “However, it is important to plan ahead and take the necessary steps to ensure the safety of your loved ones on the road and those around them.”
According to the CHP’s Statewide Integrated Traffic Records System (SWITRS), in 2011 there were more than 23,000 drivers over 65 years of age involved in a collision. Among those senior drivers involved in a collision, nearly 400 were killed and more than 22,000 suffered injuries. Further analysis of the SWITRS data indicates more than 50 percent of those senior drivers were found to be at fault in the collision.
To help California’s seniors maintain their driving independence for as long as they can safely drive, the CHP offers the two-hour, “Age Well, Drive Smart,” course. The program is supported by the Keeping Everyone Safe grant from the California Office of Traffic Safety. Through this program, seniors can tune up their driving skills, refresh their rules of the road knowledge, and learn about normal age-related physical and mental changes and how to adjust to these changes. To find out when the next Age Well, Drive Smart course is being offered, call your local CHP office or visit them online at www.chp.ca.gov.