Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is Dec. 5-9 and AAA emphasizes the importance of communication to help keep senior drivers safe and mobile

Hamilton, NJ, (December 6, 2011) – The first wave of America’s baby boomers turning 65 this year will create a “silver tsunami” of drivers says the American Automobile Association (AAA). According to the U.S. Census Bureau, this segment of the population will increase by 75 percent over the next two decades. Research has shown that people today live an average of about 7-10 years beyond their safe driving ability. To aid aging drivers and their families weather the predicted forecast, AAA is helping promote Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to help get the conversation started.

“In less than 10 years, one in four licensed drivers will be age 65 and older, which means that millions of American families will be working through this challenge,” says Tracy Noble, spokesperson for AAA Mid-Atlantic.  “Most people don’t know where to turn for help, so by partnering with the American Occupational Therapists Association (AOTA) during Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, AAA is offering invaluable resources and assessment tools to assist families as they address real and perceived challenges associated with driving and aging.”

Kenneth Chrusz, Manager, Safety Services with the AAA Mid-Atlantic’s Foundation for Safety and Education encourages visiting AAA’s senior driver safety and mobility website http://seniordriving.aaa.com/ which provides expert advice and research-based tools for senior drivers and their families. Tools on the site are designed to aid in prompting conversations, assessing abilities and improving the comfort and safety of older drivers.

Conversations about safe driving can evoke strong emotional reactions as concerns about personal independence and managing other day-to-day activities may come into question. AAA encourages seniors and their families to approach these sensitive conversations as opportunities for constructive communication and problem solving.

To help manage the effects of aging on driving ability, AAA also offers the following resources for older drivers:

•          AAA Roadwise Review is a computer-based self-screening tool designed to assess a driver’s functional abilities important to safe driving.

•          CarFit and AAA’s Smart Features for Mature Drivers help to enhance seniors’       comfort and safety while driving.

•          Safe Driving for Mature Operators classroom and online courses provide driver   training to help address the changes caused by aging and how a driver may             compensate.

For more information about Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, please visit http://www.aaapublicaffairs.com/Main/