Burnaby, British Columbia – During National Seniors Month, the British Columbia Automobile Association (BCAA) Traffic Safety Foundation is encouraging mature drivers and their families to follow safe driving practices and think about possible transportation alternatives.
There are approximately 575,000 drivers over the age of 65 in B.C., with that population expected to triple over the next 20 years.
“Most seniors are safe drivers,” said David Dunne, director of road safety for the foundation. “They are cautious and conscientious. We know that the ability to drive safely depends on factors other than age, such as driving skill, your abilities and habits, your vehicle and your driving knowledge.”
While age alone is not a good predictor of driving ability, the changes that occur with age affect the ability to function safely as drivers. Each year, nearly 60,000 Canadians over the age of 70 stop driving, but few seniors or their families ever plan ahead in preparation of driving retirement, Dunne said. Driving retirement is currently associated with a decrease in personal mobility and participation in out-of-home activities, along with increased symptoms of depression. For individuals for whom driving is no longer an option, their situations need to be addressed in a compassionate, supportive and community-minded way. Alternative transportation options can help seniors maintain mobility and community involvement once they stop driving.
The BCAA Traffic Safety Foundation has hosted Seniors’ Alternative Transportation Roundtable discussions with the goal of finding more effective ways to address the current and future mobility needs of seniors. The foundation also offers the Living Well, Driving Well mature drivers workshop, designed to help mature drivers assess their skills, habits and knowledge in a peer group environment while getting tips and strategies to help change and improve their driving.
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