Ottawa, Ontario – A new project has been announced that will focus on enhanced safety for older drivers. The National Blueprint for Injury Prevention in Older Drivers was launched by the Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists in conjunction with Montreal’s McGill University.
Seniors are the fastest-growing segment of the driving population, but driving-related crashes are the leading cause of accidental death for those 65 to 75 years of age. Research shows that the risk of crashing increases even further when the driver is over 75 years old, with these drivers 3.5 times more likely to be involved in a crash per mile than a 35- to 40-year-old driver.
“We are thrilled that this project is focused on enhanced safety for Canada’s older drivers,” said project leader Dr. Nicol Korner-Bitensky. “It is important to stress that this is not about taking away older drivers’ freedom to drive, but rather, an emphasis on injury prevention and increased health and well-being through a proactive, ‘stay sharp’ approach to driving.”
The blueprint will be used by older drivers, occupational therapists, physicians and other healthcare professionals, national and local seniors’ agencies, community groups, transportation departments, insurance and automobile industries, traffic safety professionals, and policy makers at all levels of government as a strategy to reduce crashes among older drivers.
“The goal of the Older Drivers Blueprint is to identify and encourage a comprehensive strategy that enhances the capacity of older adults to maintain their fitness to drive for as long as possible, thus enabling them to participate in the activities that bring meaning and purpose to their lives,” Dr. Korner-Bitensky said. “Older drivers we interviewed across the nation, from Victoria to Fredericton, tell us that driving is important not only for their own independence, but for the many family members and friends they help out by volunteering to drive those who cannot drive.”