The American Automobile Association (AAA), as part of its “Lifelong Safe Mobility” initiative, has developed a first-of-its kind tool to help seniors self-assess their visual acuity and other abilities important for safe driving.
Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safely Longer, is a CD-ROM that measures visual acuity, head/neck flexibility, short-term memory and five other physical and mental abilities that have been identified as the strongest predictors of crash risk among older drivers in research sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the National Institute on Aging.
Roadwise Review uses videos and easy-to-follow instructions, and its CD-ROM format is compatible with most home computers. Users can progress at their own pace, repeating the instructions and pausing the program as needed.
Based on the results of the tests, the screening tool then offers confidential feedback and advice to the user regarding their test results and steps they can take to stay safe behind the wheel. Solutions may range from an eye exam to see if stronger eyeglasses will improve vision to consultation with a physician about head/neck flexibility or memory therapy.
“This type of screening is like a blood pressure test – something you check periodically to stay healthy,” says AAA Wisconsin’s Ted Gambill. “We believe it is important to screen for your driving health just as you would for your physical health.”
People over age 65 are the fastest-growing segment of the U.S. population. By the year 2020, it’s estimated that there will be more than 40 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older. Except for teenagers, senior drivers have the highest crash death rate per mile of any age group.
Copies of Roadwise Review: A Tool to Help Seniors Drive Safely Longer are available at full-service AAA offices for a nominal price of $3.00 for AAA members and $5.00 for non-members (plus tax). To find an AAA office near you, visit the association’s website at www.aaa.com.
This article was adapted from press releases appearing on the AAA Wisconsin and AAA World websites in January 2005.