A recent survey suggests that seniors are willing to discuss their driving abilities, but the conversations rarely happen.
“These are difficult conversations, but important to have early and often, because everyone ages differently,” said David Melton, driving safety expert with Liberty Mutual Insurance and managing director of global safety. “Too often, these discussions are avoided until warning signs appear or, worse, there is a crash. It’s a step we all need to take to ensure the safety of our loved ones and the community.”
The survey, conducted by Liberty Mutual Insurance, revealed there are currently more than 23 million licensed drivers aged 70 and older and that the majority of those drivers are behind the wheel regularly, even with reported limited physical abilities. The survey was based on 1,000 adults aged 75 and older with 84 percent of senior drivers open to conversations concerning their driving but only six percent have actually spoken to someone about their driving abilities.
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The survey found that 41 percent of seniors are driving everyday and 38 percent are driving several times a week. Nearly all seniors surveyed would consider limiting or stopping their driving if presented with the right reason. But they are concerned of losing their independence, becoming less active, having a hard time finding alternative transportation and feeling isolated if they stop driving.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), over 4,000 people aged 70 and older died in motor vehicle crashes in 2012.