Senior citizens offered safety tips to keep them in the driver’s seat

Senior citizens had the opportunity to get car checks and safety tips today to keep them safe and in the driver’s seat.

Current projections suggest that a quarter of all drivers will be over the age of 65 by 2025, according to AAA.

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“I just think a lot of people need to be aware that we are aging as a society and as we age, our ability to drive safely can change,” said Michelle May from the Ohio Department of Transportation. “Four out of the five past years, we’ve seen a continuous rise in traffic deaths involving older adults.”

Checks include assessment steering wheel tilt and position, distance the driver sits from the steering wheel, line of sight above the steering wheel, position of driver to gas and break pedal, and mirror settings to eliminate blind spots.

“We can correct issues in the car that can cause harm to the driver,” said AAA spokeswoman Cindy Antrician.

Information is provided to seniors who have difficulty reaching the shoulder harness and buckling the seat belt, getting into and out of the vehicle, turning their head to look over their shoulder while changing lanes, and sitting comfortably without stiffness or pain.

In addition to the free 15-minute CarFit checks, AAA and the Ohio Department of Transportation held training to increase the number of certified technicians able to assist senior drivers.

“Sixty-five-year-old drivers are at no greater risk than causing a crash than a 35-year-old driver,” Antrican said. “However, when they are in a crash, they’re oftentimes more seriously injured.”

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