Most senior 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 an older 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 is the first phase in the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. Researchers are generating the largest and most comprehensive senior driver database in existence. The information will support in-depth research to better understand the risks and transportation needs of an aging population.
For this phase of the study, researchers investigated 12 vehicle adaptations. They found that less than 9% of senior drivers reported using any of the devices in their vehicles.