3/10/2014 - NHTSA releases new traffic plan for nation's elderly
In an effort to help motorists over the age of 65 navigate the road as safely as possible, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has released a new plan for how to best address a growing percentage of elderly individuals being involved in auto accidents.
In 2012 alone, more than 5,500 people 65 years of age and older were involved in a highway fatality, and an additional 214,000 were injured, according to NHTSA data. That represents a 3% increase from 2011 and a 16% climb among injuries.
Anthony Foxx, newly installed secretary of the Department of Transportation, indicated that these numbers are far too high.
"Safety is our highest priority and that includes ensuring the safety of our older drivers, who represent a growing population on our roads," said Foxx. "This plan will help enhance safety for everyone by helping states address the mobility needs of their older drivers."
Among the issues addressed in the report on how to decrease the number of auto insurance claims stemming from accidents among the elderly include how technological advancements can enhance safety through vehicle-to-vehicle communication systems. In addition, it examines how vision, strength, cognition and loss of hearing can adversely impact motorists ability to monitor what's around them so that they can keep themselves and their fellow motorists out of harm's way.
"Although older drivers are some of the safest drivers on our roads, our plan builds upon the NHTSA's current work to help older people drive as safely and as long as possible," said David Strickland, NHTSA administrator.
Among the states, there are various rules and regulations that older drivers often need to satisfy in order to be licensed to operate a car. The Associated Press recently put together a compilation of what they include. For example, in Florida, people over the age of 80 have to renew their licenses every six years, rather than every eight for those junior to them.