This year, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is December 7th – 11th. Promoted by The American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), this special week is designed to educate and promote safety among aging drivers in an effort to curtail car accidents and traffic fatalities.
A key component of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is a driving intervention plan that is tailored to an elder driver’s specific needs. The primary goal of an intervention plan is to explore ways for older individuals to drive safely.
The plan is created by an occupational therapy practitioner who meets with the aging driver to determine the best solutions for safe driving. Oftentimes, the therapist will suggest driving adaptive equipment. Such suggestions go beyond minor mirror or seat adjustments and usually involve vehicle modifications.
However, the modifications are typically not difficult or expensive, and the majority of them can be completed in a short amount of time.
The following is a list of common adaptive equipment used by elderly drivers:
Back-up Camera: This safety feature—a wireless camera that projects the view behind a vehicle onto the dashboard—is available in a wide variety of newer vehicles, as drivers of all ages can benefit from the unobstructed rear view these cameras offer. Older drivers in particular can benefit from a back-up camera, as turning around to see what is behind a vehicle is a difficult task for many elderly persons.
Minimal Effort Steering: A simple modification to a vehicle’s power steering system can lessen the effort or exertion required to turn a steering wheel, which is helpful for older drivers suffering from arthritis or limited shoulder mobility.
Swivel Seat Cushions: To help drivers get in and out of a vehicle easily, these round seat cushions swivel in a complete, 360 degree circle. Some swivel seat cushions also provide relief from back pain while driving. When selecting a seat cushion, be sure to choose a cushion that will not compress underneath the driver, as this can cause an unsafe slack in the seatbelt.
Pedal Extenders: Extending the length of the gas and brake pedals allows for easier reach without having to position the seat too close to the steering wheel. Sitting too close to the steering wheel decreases a driver’s ability to maneuver the wheel accurately or with ease, and can cause unnecessary upper back and shoulder pain.
Seatbelt Helper: This adaptive feature allows aging drivers to pull and fasten their seatbelt without having to yank, twist or reach behind their shoulder.
If you or someone you love has been the victim of a car accident caused by an impaired elderly driver, contact the skilled car accident attorneys at Schmidt Kramer today. We have the knowledge and experience to get you the compensation you deserve.