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PPA 419 – Aging Services Administration. Lecture 10 – Aging and Transportation. Introduction. The prevailing view in our society is that a license to drive represents the freedom to come and go as we please.

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ppa 419 aging services administration

PPA 419 – Aging Services Administration

Lecture 10 – Aging and Transportation

  • The prevailing view in our society is that a license to drive represents the freedom to come and go as we please.
  • This begins with the young, beginning driver and prevails through all ages, including the older driver.
  • The symbolic value is at least as great as its practical value.
  • For the young, the license is a rite of passage into the adult world of independence. For the older driver, its loss represents the loss of independence and perhaps even the loss of identity.
  • The loss of driving privileges can place a burden not only on the driver, but on the driver’s family.
  • Loss of driving privileges makes the older person transportation dependent, often on children and grandchildren who were once dependent on the older person.
  • Can be a difficult and painful role reversal.
  • Older person can become house-bound if no family or formal alternative exists.
  • Nevertheless, evidence suggests that unsafe driving increases with age and the number of older people in the U.S. is increasing.
    • The risk of a crash increases for 75 and older, when looking at miles traveled.
  • Problem: The decline in the safety of motor vehicle operation with increasing age is not uniform.
    • Many older drivers show no decline in skills, some show catastrophic decline, most fall somewhere in between.
  • Many older drivers are aware of their declining skills and voluntarily limit their driving, by limiting frequency, night-time driving, driving during heavy traffic, or driving complicated or dangerous routes.
  • Others refuse to acknowledge their decline in skills.
  • State policy responses
    • Aged-based license renewal with road tests (Illinois, New Hampshire, Indiana.
    • Vision, knowledge, and skills tests over 75 (Illinois and Indiana).
    • Other states prohibit reexamination on the basis of age (California, Maryland, Massachusetts).
    • Other states reduce time between renewals (Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico).
    • Others impose vision tests or restrict renewal by mail on the basis of age.