With support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the American Geriatrics Society's (AGS's) Health in Aging Foundation today announced the start of a public information campaign focused on helping older adults and caregivers access resources for safely navigating the open road. The campaign features a toolkit providing actionable safe driving tips, advice on how to have important conversations with older adults about driving limitations, and ways to continue being mobile and independent when personal driving is no longer a safe option.
Distributed during National Public Health Week (April 3-9) in the U.S., the toolkit's release also coincides with World Health Day -- Friday, April 7 -- focusing this year on depression prevention, a significant concern for older adults who discontinue driving but are not aware of transportation alternatives for maintaining independence. The AGS's safe driving campaign specifically provides information to these older adults and their caregivers to help them identify resources available to promote mobility, independence, and freedom to maintain physical and mental well-being. With the number of older adult drivers rapidly increasing -- already up 34 percent in 2012 versus 1999--the need for resources to help us all practice safe driving as we age has never been greater.
"For older adults, driving is not only a means of transport but also a reflection of independence and mobility," said Alice Pomidor, MD, MPH, AGSF, chair of the editorial board that developed the original AGS-NHTSA guide. "Older adult driving safety remains a critical public health concern that resonates beyond just older drivers and caregivers. Keeping older adults safe on the road helps keep all of us safe from preventable crashes. With help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Geriatrics Society is committed to helping us all feel independent as we age. These tools and resources are vital in helping older adults face the driving challenges associated with aging."
The AGS's Health in Aging Foundation developed these resources with help from an interprofessional team of clinicians and experts based on tools created for healthcare professionals who counsel and assess older drivers, such as an online textbook/guide, webinars, and a mobile application that is in development. The toolkit of resources for the general public includes tip sheets on Testing Driver Safety , Discussing When to Stop Driving , Safety Tips for Older Drivers, and Transportation Alternatives for Non-Drivers. To learn more visit HealthinAging.org.
About the American Geriatrics Society
Founded in 1942, the American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a nationwide, not-for-profit society of geriatrics healthcare professionals that has -- for 75 years -- worked to improve the health, independence, and quality of life of older people. Its nearly 6,000 members include geriatricians, geriatric nurses, social workers, family practitioners, physician assistants, pharmacists, and internists. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policymakers, and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy. For more information, visit AmericanGeriatrics.org.
About the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
An agency of the U.S. Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is responsible for reducing deaths, injuries, and economic losses resulting from motor vehicle crashes. This is accomplished by setting and enforcing safety performance standards for motor vehicles and motor vehicle equipment, and through grants to state and local governments to enable them to conduct effective local highway safety programs.