Is dad still okay in the car?

Older driver are generally safer than young drivers. Many of the safety messages dealing safe driving are directed towards teen drivers. This makes sense, as they are young and inexperienced as drivers. Activities like texting and other distracting tasks increase the danger that a young driver will get into a situation where they can't control their vehicle and wind up involved in a car accident.

However, young drivers are not the only drivers who present a threat; drivers older than 75 are the second most like to be involved in a fatal car accident. What is more difficult, in dealing with these drivers, is that they may have spotless driving records and take offense at someone suggesting they hang up their car keys.

There is another problem. While a town like Macon may have an old-fashioned downtown, many of the businesses have left and a large percentage of people live in suburbs, where there is limited access to public transit, if any, and virtually everywhere you need to go requires a car.

Seniors, once they lose their ability to drive, many may feel trapped, at the mercy of their children or their friend's ability to transport them to stores or the doctor's office. As one woman put it, "Driving was my salvation. I miss it so much."

Nonetheless, for many older drivers, giving their car keys to their children is necessary, for their safety and that of other drivers. This change won't be without pain, and will likely lead to yet another restructuring of much infrastructure, involving everything from the greater need for public transit to concentrating businesses and elder living locations closer together.

Perhaps Macon's downtown won't seem so old-fashioned twenty years from now.

Source: Claims Journal, "New Focus on Older Drivers," Mike Urban, The Reading Eagle, January 10, 2014

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