“Senior Driver Safety” – The Queen’s Medical Center – Ask a Specialist

There was a recent, and unfortunate, crash in Honolulu, when a 90-year-old driver struck and killed a 75-year old pedestrian in a crosswalk. What should seniors consider when driving?  How do you talk to a senior in your life about driving safely?

Erika Librizzi, Occupational Therapist at The Queen’s Medical Center says Hawaii stands out with many active, healthy seniors who work, play, and take care of others, but also an exceptionally high rate of traffic injuries in older adults. “We have the worst ranking in the U.S. for senior citizen pedestrian deaths,” she says.

Is there an age when drivers should be asked to give up their car keys? “No. There is no specific age. It’s not based on a number. What you should consider are risks that can impact driving ability like medical conditions and medications,” she counsels.

For those of us concerned about the seniors in our lives, here is Librizzi’s advice for talking to them about driving safely. “Most older drivers self-regulate, but just look to see they limit drive time in the dark and stop driving in rush hour traffic.”

You may want start a conversation by asking something simple like, “I noticed you’re driving less. Why is that?” Or, you could open the topic by mentioning news stories on senior accidents: Ask their thoughts about it, and transitioning away from driving.

For more information about senior driver safety, contact Queen’s Trauma Injury Prevention and Outreach Coordinator, Cora Speck, at (808) 691-7059 or email her at cspeck@queens.org.

 

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