People 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of drivers nationally and in Ohio. By 2030, the state will have more than 4.8 million residents who are 65 and older. ODOT data shows that the number of deaths involving older drivers hit a 10-year-high in 2021. Last year, 183 drivers over the age of 65 were killed in Ohio, representing 14.3% of all traffic fatalities.
As the older driver population continues to increase on our nation’s roads, NHTSA is dedicated to promoting safe behaviors of older drivers. See below for information from NHTSA about how aging can affect driving and click here for additional resources.
How Aging Can Affect Driving
As people age, it’s important to monitor changes in overall health as it relates to driving. While some drivers can safely drive into their nineties, for others medical conditions, problems with eyesight, sleep, tremors, or memory can make driving more difficult and dangerous.
Ask yourself, or the older driver in your life:
- Can you remember the routes you often drive?
- Do traffic signs and signals, or other drivers make you feel overwhelmed while driving?
- Have you recently received a ticket or citation for a driving violation, or been in a minor crash?
Many older people take multiple medications, whether prescribed or over-the-counter. Unfortunately, some of these drugs or a combination of drugs can impair judgment, or affect reflexes or the alertness necessary for safe driving. An older driver’s primary care provider or pharmacist can help determine if an older driver’s medications can affect their driving.
Older Drivers and Vehicles
Many vehicles can be modified to accommodate an older driver’s specific needs by adding adaptive equipment. This equipment can be as simple as a swivel seat for more convenient access, a hand control to make it easier to operate a vehicle, or a pedal extender. Make sure to ask a qualified mobility dealer for training on how to use the equipment.
Driver Assistance Technologies
Each year, vehicle manufacturers release new and improved driver assistance technologies to help keep road users safer. The technologies include everything from automatic emergency braking to blind spot intervention and lane keeping assistance. Driver assistance technologies aren’t just about keeping drivers safe; they also keep pedestrians and other road users safe.