Ohio Launching New Resources To Keep Older Drivers Safe

As older adults hit the road to join family and friends over the holidays, Governor Mike DeWine, the Ohio Department of Transportation, the Ohio Department of Public Safety the Ohio Department of Aging, and AAA are reminding Ohio drivers to “Stay Fit to Drive” by following a few basic safety tips.

In conjunction with the American Occupational Therapy Association’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (Dec. 6-10), the Governor is also unveiling a new web page with resources specifically created for older drivers, as well as their family, friends and caregivers.

“Although older adults are among the safest drivers on Ohio’s roads, their risk of being injured or killed in a crash increases with age,” said DeWine.

“This new website puts resources for older drivers in one place to help them stay independent longer while reducing risks to themselves and others on the road.”

People age 65 and older make up the fastest growing segment of drivers nationally and in Ohio.

Between 2010 and 2019, the U.S. population of people age 65 and older grew by 34%, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

In recent years, fatal crashes involving this age group have also increased.

Data from the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) shows the number of deaths involving older drivers spiked in 2019, when 271 people died in crashes on Ohio roads, representing 23 percent of all traffic deaths statewide.

While older driver crash deaths declined in 2020 when many older drivers stayed home, they are rising again this year as vaccinations increase and older adults resume activities.

To help prevent crashes, Ohio has state and local program resources that can help older drivers adopt strategies to stay safe on the road, as well as find alternatives to driving if they can no longer do so safely.

These resources can be found on the new website, transportation.Ohio.gov/olderdrivers.

In addition, the Ohio Department of Aging has tips and resources for older Ohioans and their families.

They help older drivers maintain their driving abilities and independence and understand the factors that affect their ability to stay behind the wheel safely.

They also provide advice for discussing the topic with family members and finding transportation resources.