It is a simple fact of life that people grow older every day, but many people fail to acknowledge the ways that aging changes can affect driving abilities. This year, Older Driver Safety Awareness Week is being held during the week of December 2-6. The organization that annually promotes this week, the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), focuses on educating the public to create a better understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation in older adult’s lives. This week aims to ensure that older adults are still able to live their lives to the fullest with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier to strand them at home. Each day throughout the week will highlight a different aspect of older driver safety.
On Thursday, the AOTA is focusing on “Interventions That Can Empower Drivers and Families.” These driving interventions are based on a plan that is created between the client and their occupational therapist. The goal of intervention is not to intimidate or tell older adults that they should not drive, but rather to explore ways for individuals to drive safely for as long as possible. After completing a comprehensive driving evaluation, an occupational therapy practitioner trained in driving rehabilitation can make any necessary suggestions to make driving safer or more comfortable. The solutions may include recommendations for driving equipment or adaptations to ensure that physical challenges do not limit the driver. Examples of adaptive equipment could include hand controls, a handlebar, seat cushions, or a back-up camera.
The final day is concerned with “Staying Engaged in the Community With or Without a Car.” Families and friends are advised to help older drivers adjust their life to drive safely or to cope with the realization that they are no longer able to do so. This can be a life-changing for an individual, yet these changes should be taken in stride. Learning that you can no longer operate a vehicle safely can be difficult to come to terms with for an older adult, making it hard to imagine an active and engaged life without the ability to drive. To ensure that older adults still participate in out-of-home activities, people can work together and find ways to transport individuals to various activities, whether it be from a family member, friend or neighbor.
It is important that individuals recognize the significance of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week and to make changes in their own, or loved one’s life, if necessary. However, older adults may still find themselves in vehicle collisions even while operating their own vehicle safely. If you or a loved one have suffered an injury in a collision due to the negligence of another driver, you may be entitled to compensation. The attorneys at Spiros Law, P.C. understand the pain and suffering these events bring to an individual and their family and are readily available to discuss your legal options through this difficult process. Contact one of our attorneys today at (217) 328-2828 to receive a free consultation.