AAA: Few seniors take advantage of in-car safety modifications

A recent study says that only 10 percent of seniors use in-car adjustments that would improve their driving.

Safe driving is, of course, important at any age, but it is especially important for senior drivers. That is because seniors are twice as likely to be killed when involved in a motor vehicle accident than other drivers are. Given that risk, it is both surprising and worrying that, as the Chicago Tribune reports, a recent study from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Study found that 90 percent of senior drivers do not utilize simple in-car adjustments that could vastly improve their safe driving skills.

Study finds safety adjustments are rarely used

The AAA Foundation study asked 3,000 drivers in the United States who were 65 or over about whether or not they used any of 12 different types of in-car safety adjustments. The adjustments included such things as enlarged mirrors, pedal extensions, hand controls, seat cushions, and steering wheel covers. Most of the adjustments listed were inexpensive and widely available.

However, despite their easy availability, the survey found that only 10 percent of those surveyed had any of the 12 adjustments. Even more disconcerting was the fact that among those who did have at least one safety adjustment, only 10 percent of them used a trained professional to install the adjustment. It is recommended that safety adjustments be installed with the assistance of a trained professional to ensure their effectiveness.

A rapidly aging driving population

The study was part of the AAA's Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LongROAD) project. As Science Daily reports, the LongROAD project aims to create a massive database on senior drivers in order to contend with some of the issues that will inevitably be raised by a rapidly aging population.

Among those issues is the fact that seniors who are no longer able to drive suffer from higher rates of social isolation and mental health problems than those who can drive. Also, senior drivers are at double the risk of being killed in an accident than younger drivers are. Many of the safety adjustments included in the survey could help seniors drive for longer and more safely, thus combating the risks of both isolation and serious injury. Furthermore, given that a much larger share of the driving population is quickly entering the plus-65 demographic, it is in everybody's interest, old and young alike, to ensure that senior drivers have whatever tools they may need to drive safely.

Help after an accident

An accident can be a painful and frightening experience, especially if it leads to physical or psychological injuries. When combined with the financial burden that such accidents often lead to, victims often find themselves feeling overwhelmed. A personal injury attorney can help. Compensation may be available for such victims and an attorney can assist clients with making a claim to pursue the full compensation amount that they may be eligible for.