LAS VEGAS, Nev. (702 Times, NV Globe) – When should a driver hand over the keys? During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, that question is front and center.
Debbie Hansen, a licensed driving rehab specialist, says it depends because driving is based on skill rather than age.
“They have years and years of experience which makes them at times better but the physical disability or vision, or physical dysfunction, cognition, can impair those skills that they have built up all those years,” Hansen said.
Gail Morrison, 86, has been driving since her early teens and believes that older drivers should not be restricted by age.
“I have a disabled husband, and I have to take him to all of his appointments, and he doesn’t want anyone else taking him, so I do a lot of driving,” Morrison said.
What about her driving experience?
“It is a nightmare, but I have figured out what the problem is, people come here, this is the play center of the world, people come here from all over the world, and so they bring their own driving patterns,” she added.
Morrison is one of nearly 48 million licensed drivers in the United States aged 65 and up, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Approximately 7,500 older persons were died in automobile accidents, while almost 200,000 were treated in emergency rooms for collision injuries.
Morrison can still drive, but she notices some differences.
“The reflexes have definitely diminished but apparently, they are good enough that I do not find a problem,” Morrison said.
She relies on a driving evaluation to ensure she’s legal.
According to Hansen, while older drivers account for 20% of total crash deaths in Nevada, the population is more vulnerable.
“It’s the younger driver that has more at-fault fatalities, and the older driver, however, when they are experienced or involved in that type of situation, they are less likely able to recover quickly due to their age,” Hansen said.
If drivers require assistance, simple devices that can be attached to a vehicle can prevent some drivers from having to hit the brakes right away.
Credits: Fox 5 Vegas
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