Good communication is one of the best tools a group of people can have. Whether it is an attorney and his or her client, family members, employers, and staff or doctors and patients, with solid communication skills, issues can be resolved. An area of California life that can benefit from this thoughtful approach is highway motor vehicle safety. In particular, lessening the likelihood of an elderly driver causing a car crash is a sound idea.
To that end, the California Department of Motor Vehicles provides some insight into what it takes for driver safety to be maintained as we age. By 2030, it’s estimated that one out of every five drivers will be 65 years old or older. With that in mind, the DMV has provided some resources for older individuals and their friends and families to consider.
Some people believe the DMV routinely reexamines elderly drivers after a certain age. This isn’t true. The DMV may investigate and require an examination of a driver’s ability, but it isn’t age-triggered. The organization maintains a Senior Driver Ombudsman Branch to combine efforts with the public to keep senior drivers operating their vehicles safely for as long as possible. It acts as a go-between to be sure elderly drivers are treated fairly, while at the same time, it addresses public safety concerns.
Proper nutrition to maintain a healthy body and mind is promoted by the DMV. A checklist can be accessed that will help seniors determine if they should talk to their doctors about any issues. The DMV suggests exercising to stay flexible enough to drive with easy body movement, and seniors must be aware of slowed reflexes or impaired vision that can contribute to a car accident. Vehicles can be modified if necessary to improve handling. Seniors suffering from dementia are a challenge to safe driving and ultimately it will lose their ability to drive. Medications should be evaluated carefully and, as with any driver, alcohol consumption should be avoided.
Honest communication can help older drivers stay independent as long as possible while keeping others on the road safe. Liability for injury to another person isn’t lessened or avoided because of age or diminished driving ability. Victims can seek compensation, and responsible senior drivers can be held accountable.
Source: California DMV, “DMV Senior Guide For Safe Driving,” accessed June 10, 2015