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December 14, 2012
Training Drivers of Every Age to Drive Safely

Here are some training tips for keeping older drivers safe in your workplace.

The days of retiring at age 62 or so are over for many. Instead of playing golf and gardening, a significant number of older Americans are still at work.

For example, the rates of driver involvement in fatal work-related crashes steadily increase beginning around age 55, according to the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Changes that occur because of aging may contribute to this increase. Older drivers can suffer from reduced night vision and increased intolerance of glare, slower reaction times, declines in cognitive functioning, and decreasing muscle strength and range of motion.

Although most of these changes do not affect a person’s ability to work, they can affect the ability to safely operate a vehicle, making it harder for older drivers to react quickly and effectively to road hazards.

Older workers may also suffer from chronic conditions like arthritis or take medications that affect their alertness.

Protect older workers from motor vehicle hazards by:

• Ensuring that they participate in driving safety courses, like those offered by AAA or insurance providers, even if they have safe driving records.

• Scheduling driving tasks with sensitivity to older drivers. In particular, daytime driving could be assigned preferentially to older workers, while night-driving tasks could be assigned preferentially to younger workers.

• Making sure older workers are aware of the potential effects of medications they may take on their ability to drive safely.

Older workers bring much to your workplace with their experience, wisdom, and caution. Provide them with the information and resources they need to counter age-related conditions and continue working productively and safely.

Why It Matters...
  • According to the National Transportation Safety Board, in 2009, there were 33 million licensed drivers ages 65 and older in the United States.
  • Furthermore, the forecast is that by 2025, this age group will make up more than 20 percent of the entire U.S. driving population.
  • That’s one in five drivers.
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