New AAA Study Finds Older Residents Aren’t Talking About Driving Safety

HYANNIS – The American Automobile Association is out with a new study this week about older drivers and their ability to continue operating a vehicle past the age of 65.

This issue takes on a large significance here on the Cape, which is home to a bigger elder population than the rest of the nation.

“What this AAA study finds is simply that moat older drivers, 83% in fact, are not talking with family members at all about their safe driving ability as they get older, and those who are 15% are doing so only after a crash or some other incident has occurred,” said Mary Maguire, AAA Northeast Director of Public and Legislative Affairs.

Triple A reports that back in 2016, more than 200,000 drivers ages 65 and older were injured in a traffic crash, and more than 3,500 were killed.

With seniors outliving their ability to drive safely by an average of seven to 10 years, families should not wait to talk about safety. AAA urges seniors to begin planning for “driving retirement” at the same time they begin planning for retirement from work.

“We encourage families to start the conversation about planning for driving retirement early and to talk about it often, so that everybody can get used to the idea that there will be some changes,” said Maguire.

It is important that families have a plan to help keep the older driver in their familial network on the road for as long as safely possible.

Past research from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety found that older adults who have stopped driving are almost two times more likely to suffer from depression and nearly five times as likely to enter a long-term care facility as those who remain behind the wheel.

For more information on AAA resources for older drivers, visit SeniorDriving.AAA.com.

By JOHN BONDAREK, CapeCod.Com News Center

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