Safety program offered for older drivers

Monday, December 18, 2006

The Safe Communities Program of the Cape Girardeau Police Department is partnering with the Missouri Department of Transportation, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the American Society on Aging to focus on older driver safety and community mobility.

Some of the programs offered include training, a 12-point checklist reviewed by a trained professional or volunteer to assure that older drivers fit well in their vehicle with maximum access to controls and best visibility. There is also a law enforcement module, a CD-ROM-based program that enables drivers to check their driving abilities in a convenient and confidential manner and a presentation for physicians to access and counsel older patients on medical fitness-to-drive.

With baby boomers aging and life expectancy increasing, the implementation of an older driver safety program is a practical safety measure. In the past three years, 567 people were killed in Missouri and 3,341 were seriously injured in traffic crashes involving an older driver. In 2005, people 65 years of age and older accounted for nearly 15 percent of licensed drivers in the state and were involved in 16 percent of the fatal traffic crashes and 13 percent of the crashes involving a serious injury in the last three years.

As people age, they may experience vision changes, limited mobility, slower reflexes, delayed reaction time, drowsiness and trouble judging distance or speed.

For information about the programs being announced in January, call Sharee Galnore, coordinator of the Safe Communities Program at Cape Girardeau Police Department, at 335-7908, or e-mail sgalnore@cityofcapegirardeau.org.

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