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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

Lecture 10 – Aging and Transportation

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.

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  • 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.