As a follow-up to yesterday’s post about Texas having thee cities ranked in the top ten worst for driving safety comes this report from the Dallas Morning News — Texas ranks second in the nation for highest traffic fatalities among people aged 65 and older. Here are excerpts from the article:
In a recent report by the Road Information Program, a nonprofit transportation research group known as TRIP, Texas ranked second in the nation in the number of drivers 65 and older killed in car accidents and in the number of fatal crashes involving drivers 65 or older.
The report is based on 2010 statistics provided by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. In Texas 397 people died as a result of crashes involving drivers 65 or older, and 224 drivers 65 or older were killed. But Texas fell 4 percent below the national average in the share of fatal crashes involving that age group.
“Texas had some of the biggest numbers, and that’s just a function of being a large state,” said Frank Moretti, TRIP’s director of policy and research.
The report also offers safety recommendations, including roadway enhancements, education, improvements to vehicles and more transportation accessibility for the older generation.
“As people age, there is going to be a diminishment of skills applicable to driving,” Moretti said. “So the challenge to the transportation community is: How do you accommodate all these older people?”
TRIP’s report states that the population of Americans 65 and older is expected to grow 60 percent by 2025.
In Texas, there are about 483,000 licensed drivers 79 or older, according to the Texas Department of Public Safety.
TxDOT aims to include safety enhancements as it works through its construction projects. It is working on building shoulders for Interstate 635 in Dallas and U.S. Highway 75 in McKinney. It also has been replacing older street signs with newer versions made to appear brighter and has been installing reflectors on roadways to help motorists at night.
Texas takes an extra precaution with older drivers. It requires 79-year-olds to renew their license after a vision exam. The license is valid for six years, after which the driver must renew again to receive a license that will last two years.
AT A GLANCE: Tips for older drivers
- Keep a safe following distance, at least two or three seconds, between you and the driver in front of you.
- Buckle up.
- Be mindful of changes in your eyesight and hearing.
- If you wear eyeglasses when driving, be sure to keep your prescription current, and wear the proper glasses for day and night driving.
- Do not fall victim to road rage.
- Adjust your mirrors to minimize blind spots.
- Glance frequently from the road ahead to your rearview mirror, side mirrors and instrument panel when driving.
- Be mindful of side effects of prescription medications.
- Increase your concentration on the road in difficult situations by limiting distractions. Switch off the radio, minimize discussions with passengers, avoid using cellphones, and keep the inside temperature of your car comfortable.
- Keep mirrors, headlights and taillights clean and in good repair. Remember to wash both the inside and outside of windshields and windows regularly.