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Safer Driving and Assistive Technologies for Older People

23/8/2016

Road Safety is everyone's business and no less so as we age. But what does this really mean to older people and what are the conversations to be had when we think about how safe we are as drivers?

Be informed

For many people losing their driving licence signifies a loss of independence which impacts our routines and daily life. Yet there are many more aspects of what safer driving can mean to consider before beginning the conversation about retirement from driving. The first step is to gather all the information you need to make informed choices about transport now and into the future.

COTA SA in conjunction with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure have responded to the need for readily available information about what safe driving means to older Australians. Through a series of interactive sessions, designed to engage with seniors clubs and community groups, Moving Right Along provides an opportunity for discussion and sharing information that can support older drivers in their choices. The focus is very much on the rights of individuals to make informed decisions around their own fitness to drive and the safety of other road users.

Some of the assumptions made about older drivers can be easily disputed in that they are not statistically any more responsible for accidents than younger drivers. In fact older drivers have a wealth of driving experience and are overall less likely to take risks. Yet, as part of the ageing process, aspects of physical health can affect capacity for driving and this is where self-regulation is critical. Through the Moving Right Along Program individuals are supported in understanding the relationship between health and fitness to drive and this has enabled many in making decisions to keep themselves and others safe which has often led to changes in driving behaviour.

Vehicle technologies and older drivers

Technology is another consideration - it continues to develop rapidly not only in relation to communication but also in relation to vehicles. Assistive technologies, such as emergency response systems and assistive parking systems, can support an older person to remain driving for longer. COTA SA's latest Reframing Ageing seminar, Staying Safe on the Road looks at this element of driving - come along and find out more about the technologies that are available and how they might affect you.

An important component of developing assistive technologies would be to involve older people through a co-design approach. Capturing the issues and driver experience for older people would bring about the development of relevant technology that would benefit all road users.

Infrastructure

It is clear that there is a huge part to play in creating a transport infrastructure that supports choices made by drivers. If there are few travel options available for older people to engage with their community and remain independent then the decision to alter driving behaviours is affected.

Feedback received from Moving Right Along sessions delivered in regional areas has indicated a desire to consider alternatives yet the available transport options are not always addressing need. Regular, economical, safe, greener and user friendly transport can connect people with their communities and respect an individual's desire to manage their own lives.

More Information

If you would like to learn more on this topic why not consider coming along to one of our three Moving Right Along Information Sessions, or our next Reframing Ageing Seminar, Staying Safe on the Road:

Moving Right Along: Session 1 - Older drivers, safer vehicles, fitness to drive
Wednesdy, August 31 2016; 10.00 - 11.00am at COTA SA, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Visit https://www.cotasa.org.au/events/2016/moving-right-along-older-drivers.aspx for more information and to register.

Moving Right Along: Session 2 - Travel options and retiring from driving
Wednesdy, August 31 2016; 11.30am - 12.30pm at COTA SA, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Visit https://www.cotasa.org.au/events/2016/moving-right-along-travel-options.aspx for more information and to register

Moving Right Along: Session 3 - Motorised Mobility Scooters
Tuesday, 13 September 2016, 10.30 - 11.30am at COTA SA, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide SA 5000
Visit https://www.cotasa.org.au/events/2016/moving-right-along-motorised-mobility-scooters.aspx for more information and to register

Staying Safe on the Road
Wednesday 14th September, 10.00am - 12.00pm at COTA SA, 16 Hutt Street, Adelaide SA 5000
As part of our Reframing Ageing seminar series, COTA SA is pleased to partnering with the Centre for Automotive Safety Research (CASR) for our next seminar which focusses on assistive technologies for driving. Visit https://www.cotasa.org.au/events/2016/staying-safe-on-the-road.aspx for more information and to register