Extending Safe Driving Years

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2. The Graying of America. At the start of the 21st century there were 11 times as many people over age 65 than at the start of the 20th century; and 33 times as many people over 85.The population over age 65 will grow from about 35 million in 2000 to about 78 million in 2050.. 3. Reasons for Demo

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Extending Safe Driving Years

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1. 1 Extending Safe Driving Years Martin Wachs Director, Institute of Transportation Studies, UC-Berkeley

2. 2 The Graying of America At the start of the 21st century there were 11 times as many people over age 65 than at the start of the 20th century; and 33 times as many people over 85. The population over age 65 will grow from about 35 million in 2000 to about 78 million in 2050.

3. 3 Reasons for Demographic Imperative People are Living Longer Baby boomers are maturing Those of childbearing age are having fewer children People are learning to eat healthy foods, to exercise, and to stop smoking While death rate falls, many conditions continue to afflict the elderly more than other groups

4. 4 Elderly People are Drivers Many of our grandparents NEVER learned to drive; differences between elderly and younger people were greater just twenty years ago; especially among women. Current and future elderly consist of people who have driven since youth (exception among recent migrants from abroad). Majority of elderly live in suburbs and majority age in place.

5. 5 Mobility is Essential to Quality of Life in Aging People over age 65 make a higher proportion of their trips in cars than non-elderly people….well over 90% of trips Elderly people who don’t drive make 90%+ of their trips in cars…..as passengers Americans as a group spend 19% of their household budgets on “travel,” while the elderly spend nearly 25%

6. 6 Most Elderly Drivers are Safe Drivers Older drivers have lower rates of crashes per capita Less likely to drink & drive Less likely to speed or disobey signs Likely to self-limit their driving as they age…avoid night driving, drive slowly, etc. ……but……..

7. 7 There are safety concerns Older drivers have more crashes per mile of driving than middle aged drivers Older drivers more likely to be at fault Elderly more likely than younger people to be injured in a crash of given severity Cause analysis shows age-related functional deficits are factors in accidents

8. 8 Aging is Complex Driving is Complex Visual, cognitive, and physical performance of driving-related tasks diminish with age Older people are vulnerable in crashes Age is a poor predictor of driving performance Differences from one person to another of same age are greater than differences between age groups

9. 9 Complex Approaches are Needed Recognize rights and feelings of older people Safety is critically important Mobility is critically important Cost is critically important Many obvious solutions may not work very well We started addressing this problem too late

10. 10 Our Goal Should be “SAFE MOBILITY” Recognize the significance of mobility in aging…..mobility means quality of life…no less important than in any age group Promote improvements in safety that recognize characteristics of an elderly population but are NOT PUNITIVE

11. 11 Some Obvious Approaches Don’t Work Testing on the basis of age is discriminatory Visual acuity test is a poor predictor of performance Road test is a poor predictor of performance Written test is a poor predictor of performance Hmmm… this is tougher than we thought; but most drivers and families do self regulate

12. 12 Physicians Role is Difficult Doctors identify conditions that should limit driving and must notify DMV Doctors are reluctant to limit mobility/have huge caseloads/have poor training with respect to aging and driving Reluctance arises from absence of alternatives to driving for most people

13. 13 A Multi-level Test for Everyone Based upon a simple test, certain performance leads to more complex tests which lead to still more tests depending upon the outcome Experiments in several states including California Type one and type two errors are both important

14. 14 Older Driver Education Seems Promising….but Large numbers of drivers take AARP and AAA courses for older drivers Insurance rates are an incentive Poor correlation with driving performance We cannot conclude that education is worthless; we can conclude that we need to do better if we could only find out how to

15. 15 Vehicles can be part of the solution in three ways CRASH AVOIDANCE: Vehicle design features can help prevent crashes CRASH WORTHINESS: Vehicle design features can help lessen injuries to occupants & pedestrians POST-CRASH ASSISTANCE: Vehicle design features can help us help victims

16. 16 Vehicle Design Challenges Replace or extend lost visual, cognitive, or physical ability….power brakes and power steering do that; night vision, collision avoidance, radar systems could do more Frailty of elderly an issue: air bags, seat belts steering wheels inflict injury – design for a new range of occupant characteristics

17. 17 By now you may be thinking…. Improving vehicles can help non-elderly people as well as the elderly Some improvements might confuse drivers and make driving more complex….human factorsengineering is critical Costs and tradeoffs can be enormous….how do we set priorities?

18. 18 Improving Highways can be part of the solution Signs can be made more visible: earlier warning, larger letters, reflectors, colors, shapes Roadway delineation, especially at night: edge markers, reflectors Lighting improvements Hazard reduction: trees, curves, shoulders, etc.

19. 19 By now you may be thinking….. Improving highways can help non-elderly people as well as the elderly Costs and tradeoffs can be enormous…..how do we set priorities? AASHTO “Green Book” based on a “design driver….perception-reaction times being questions, updated, improved

20. 20 Providing alternatives to driving may be part of the solution Improvements in public transit: more routes, increased frequency, kneeling buses Paratransit alternatives: the trip to the bus stop may be the most difficult part of the trip Volunteer mobility companion programs: have worked really well very infrequently

21. 21 By now you may be thinking….. Improving alternatives to driving can help non-elderly people as well as the elderly Transit is enormously expensive (labor intensive) and there are huge tradeoffs….e.g. should we make service more frequent or extend geographic coverage? We cannot do everything

22. 22 Designing communities better may be part of the solution Providing stores and services in residential communities (mixed versus separated land uses) Adding sidewalks and recreational facilities More in-home services for those more frail More “walk” time at traffic signals and shorter distances at crosswalks (safety islands)

23. 23 By now you may be thinking…... Improving community design can help non-elderly people as well as the elderly It will take generations to redesign our communities, though we can start when building new neighborhoods It is more expensive to “fix” (retrofit) older communities than it is to address these issues in new ones Tradeoffs are enormous: choosing places and choosing programs

24. 24 Summing Up My keynote address is the easiest of all the talks to give today The issues are genuinely complex and those who try to solve these problems in practice have so many considerations to balance Berkeley is a great research university, and we want to make a contribution through our research; but everyone in society must contribute

25. 25 Closing We cannot provide you with all the answers in a one-day workshop; We present for you speakers who will go into greater depth, present research underway and work aiming toward safe mobility in old age We value your comments, suggestions, and your commitment to this important work

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