April 11, 2017
Professor Alice Pomidor is becoming an even higher-profile messenger about safe driving for older adults.
This month, the American Geriatrics Society – with support from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration – is launching its Safe Driving Campaign. And as chair of the AGS’ Public Education Committee, Pomidor will be featured in radio interviews in large markets across the country.
This is familiar territory for Pomidor, a faculty member in the College of Medicine’s Department of Geriatrics. For many years she has studied older adults and driving, and she was chair of the editorial board that last year published an updated “Clinician’s Guide to Assessing and Counseling Older Drivers” for AGS and NHTSA.
“For older adults, driving is not only a means of transport but also a reflection of independence and mobility,” she said in a press release announcing the Safe Driving Campaign. “Older adult driving safety remains a critical public health concern that resonates beyond just older drivers and caregivers. Keeping older adults safe on the road helps keep all of us safe from preventable crashes. With help from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the American Geriatrics Society is committed to helping us all feel independent as we age. These tools and resources are vital in helping older adults face the driving challenges associated with aging.”
The number of older adult drivers in the United States increased 34 percent between 1999 and 2012.
The Safe Driving Campaign features a toolkit providing safe driving tips, advice on how to have important conversations with older adults about driving limitations, and ways to continue being mobile and independent when personal driving is no longer a safe option.
The toolkit’s release coincided with World Health Day, focusing this year on depression prevention, a significant concern for older adults who discontinue driving but are not aware of transportation alternatives for maintaining independence. The AGS’ Safe Driving Campaign helps older adults and their caregivers identify resources available to promote mobility, independence and freedom to maintain physical and mental well-being.
The AGS’ Health in Aging Foundation developed these resources with help from an interprofessional team of clinicians and experts. They’re based on tools created for health-care professionals who counsel and assess older drivers, such as an online textbook/guide, a webinar and a mobile app that is in development. The toolkit of resources for the general public includes tip sheets on Testing Driver Safety, Discussing When to Stop Driving, Safety Tips for Older Drivers, and Transportation Alternatives for Non-Drivers. To learn more, visit HealthinAging.org.