In December 2016, the Tennessee Highway Safety Office (THSO) held an Older Driver Safety Awareness Week to support and encourage safe transportation among an aging population of drivers. The event, cohosted by the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) and the Tennessee Commission on Aging and Disability (TCAD), came on the heels of a recent increase in fatal crashes involving senior drivers in the state.
The goal for the Week was to “inform aging drivers and their families that strategies exist to help address concerns related to safe mobility and transportation.” With Tennessee’s population projected to include over 2 million seniors by 2030, this was a prime opportunity to provide education to mature drivers and their families on ways to reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities.
Each day of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week focused on a different aspect of mature driver safety. Beginning Monday, December 5th, daily themes included “Anticipating Changes that Can Affect Driving,” “Family Conversations,” “Screening and Evaluations with an Occupational Therapist,” “Interventions that can Empower Drivers” and “Staying Engaged in the Community.” Through these, the Week was able to evoke conversations on a wide array of topics from initial changes in driver ability to keeping seniors mobile after they stop driving. Each day’s topic was covered through podcasts featuring expert panelists, downloadable resources and social media conversations.