JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – If you have an older parent, you might be familiar with the tough conversation on if they should still be driving. The Florida Department of Transportation says Florida leads the nation with 20% of its population 65 and older.
In less than a decade by 2030, 1 in 4 drivers throughout the state will be in this same age category.
As part of older driver safety awareness week; FDOT encourages drivers 65 and older to understand the impact aging has on commuting, be proactive about safe driving skills, and plan for a secure transition away from driving.
“As we’re looking at the statistics as our Florida motorists age, they’re actually involved in fewer crashes. I think the crash rate for our motorists who over 65 is actually half of that as opposed to the younger drivers but it’s twice the fatality rate. One of the things we’ve seen is that Duval county is one of our priority counties this year. Looking at the 5-year average of crashes involving motorists 65 and up Duval county is above average,” said Troy Roberts, FDOT Spokesman.
FDOT wants to make sure older drivers are aware of resources to keep them safe.
The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition has programs to help, including Meals On Wheels to get food.
They can also request a ride to the store or appointments by using this link. There’s also an educational program called Carfit, which checks how well your loved one’s car fits them.
Aside from that - over the past 20 years FDOT has made improvements to the roads to make it easier for older drivers to navigate.
- These changes include increasing the width of lines on the road.
- Putting in crosswalks that are easier to see.
- Providing advance notice with new street signs.
- And adding reflective plates to traffic signals.
FDOT says now is the time for older drivers to think and plan ahead for their driving needs as they age.
Here are the organization’s recommendations for building a safe transportation plan.
Building Your Personalized Transportation Plan
Proactive transportation planning is the first step to keeping you safe, mobile, and independent, whether you are driving or not. Building a personalized transportation plan is as easy as 1-2-3 thanks to Florida’s Guide to Safe Mobility for Life. It is never too early to start becoming comfortable with using new transportation options.
Step 1: Identify Transportation Options
This is where you list all the transportation options available in your area and details for each, including cost, timing, and availability. This may include walking, a local bus route, or a nearby bike trail.
Step 2: Plan a Routine
Once you have found the transportation options that you can use, make them part of your routine. Start listing out all the places that you need and want to go and how often you make those trips. Consider the following:
- Can a bike ride get you to your sister’s house for your weekly book club?
- Does your local bus have a stop in front of your favorite shopping center?
- Is your neighbor willing to share a ride and split the costs for a joint trip to the grocery store?
Step 3: Practice and Adjust
To gain more confidence using your transportation plan, challenge yourself to complete one errand without using your personal vehicle. If you learn new things along the way, adjust your plan, and keep working to improve it.
Watch this video to learn how to build a transportation plan using Florida’s Guide to Safe Mobility for Life.