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90 Percent of Senior Drivers Don't Make Vehicle Adjustments That Can Improve Safety

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WASHINGTON, Nov. 29, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Nearly 90 percent of older drivers do not make inexpensive adaptations to their vehicles that can improve safety and extend their time behind the wheel, according to new research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. Common vehicle adaptations like pedal extensions, seat cushions and steering wheel covers can help to improve safety by reducing a senior driver’s crash risk. Seniors aged 65 and over are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to be killed when involved in a crash. AAA urges seniors to consider making the necessary adaptations to their vehicles in order to reduce crash risk and extend the time they can continue to drive.

“While many seniors are considered to be safe drivers, they are also the most vulnerable,” said Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety. “Our research suggests that most senior drivers are not taking advantage of simple and inexpensive features like steering wheel covers that can greatly improve their safety and the safety of others on the road.”

The research brief, In-Vehicle Technologies, Vehicle Adaptations, and Older Drivers: Use, Learning, and Perceptions is the first phase in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s groundbreaking Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. Researchers are currently engaged in generating the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database in existence. This critical information will support in-depth research to better understand the risks and transportation needs of our aging population.

For this phase of the study, researchers investigated 12 vehicle adaptations and found that fewer than nine percent of senior drivers reported using any of the devices in their vehicles. Some of the inexpensive devices that can be purchased and put to use in new or existing vehicles are:

Vehicle Device

Potential Safety Impact

Cushions and seat pads

Improves line of sight and can help alleviate back
or hip pain

Convex/ multifaceted mirrors

Improves visibility and minimizes blind spots

Pedal extension

Helps drivers obtain a safe distance from the
steering wheel/airbag and optimize visibility

Steering wheel covers

Improves grip for drivers with arthritic hand
joints

Hand controls

Allows the driver to perform all vehicle
maneuvers and functions without the use of
lower extremities

Choosing the right features and

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