The Statistics Canada article “Older drivers—a complex public health issue” states that “driving is a complex task requiring the integration of visual, cognitive and motor skills.
While old age itself is not a contraindication to driving, the increasing prevalence of chronic diseases with advancing age may make it hazardous for elderly people to get behind the wheel. Previous research has indicated that when exposure is controlled, the risk of motor vehicle accidents among seniors tends to approach that for young people, who have the greatest risk. Other studies have found that crash rates for older drivers, especially those over 75, are higher than rates for all drivers and similar to those of very young drivers (aged 16 to 19).
The potential risk that older drivers face and impose on others is important, because the demographic profile of drivers will change dramatically over the next two decades. This, in turn, could be expected to affect patterns of risk associated with driving. The elderly will constitute a growing segment of drivers. And many of these drivers will continue to rely on private transportation to maintain their independence and an active lifestyle.” Maintaining a driver’s license is an important issue of independence for older Canadians, especially to those who have driven for most of their life. The Canada Safety Council reports that on a per-person basis, mature drivers have less than the average number of collisions. But on a per-kilometre basis, the over-70 age group is involved in a disproportionately high number of collisions.
The Canada Safety Council has several recommendations for senior drivers on their website at www.safety-council.org The Council also recommends that seniors take a driver improvement course such as the Canada Safety Council’s 55 Alive. Community Care provides this course regularly and the next offering is coming up soon.
Call soon to get on the list 613-476-7493 because space is limited and it fills quickly. The course deals with changing road conditions, rules and regulations and the need to understand collision – prevention measures. It focuses on the major problems which are common to older drivers, which include failure to yield the right of way, improper turning, incorrect lane changing, passing, and entering and exiting highways. The sessions are made up of lectures, video presentations, group discussions and instructor guidance. There is no actual ‘on the road’ driving. The instructor has been trained by the Canada Safety Council.
Call 613-476-7493 for more information and to be sure your name is on the registration list.
-Debbie MacDonald Moynes