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AAA Helps Seniors Drive Longer

Driving tips for seniors on the road

Just as you would screen for high cholesterol or high blood pressure, AAA has introduced a first-of-its-kind scientifically validated tool designed to help seniors screen for their driving health. And it can be done in the privacy of one's home. Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safely Longer is a CD-ROM that measures eight physical and mental abilities shown to be the strongest predictors of crash risk among older drivers and then provides feedback to guide the user's driving decisions.

"As we age, we experience physiological changes that could affect our driving, and there are steps you can take to keep driving safely longer," said Mike Right, vice president, Public Affairs, AAA. "Roadwise helps seniors recognize common problems that affect their driving ability."

People over 65 are the fastest-growing population in the United States, and by 2020 there will be more than 40 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older. Because of their fragility, seniors have the highest crash death rate per mile of everyone except teenagers.

The computer-based screening program in Roadwise contains the most effective predictors of crash risk in eight functional areas as validated in research sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institute on Aging. AAA worked closely with scientists at TransAnalytics, a leading transportation safety research organization, to create a tool that is both state-of-the-art and user friendly.

Using video and easy-to-follow instructions, Roadwise screens drivers in eight functional areas:

  • Leg Strength and General Mobility - necessary to control acceleration and braking

  • Head/Neck Flexibility - essential in checking blind spots, lane changes or merging

  • High Contrast Visual Acuity - needed to identify pavement markings and signs

  • Low Visual Acuity - vital for driving in low visibility conditions

  • Working Memory - important in following directions, remembering traffic rules

  • Visualization of Missing Information - helps recognize hazards

  • Visual Search - ability to quickly find and recognize traffic signs

  • Useful Field of Vision - ensures drivers ability to notice safety threats at the edge of vision

Roadwise uses an integrated data system that provides users with confidential feedback about screening results and its CD-ROM format is comparable with most home computers. Roadwise is recommended for PCs running Windows XP, 2000, ME, or 98 running 633 MHz or faster.

(Source: AAA)