New York State has recognized that an unprecedented number of older drivers are on the road. Approximately one in every seven drivers now is age 65 or older. As the baby boomers arrive at the threshold of retirement, the percentage of older drivers will continue to grow. By 2029, approximately one in four drivers will be age 65 or older.
To respond to this trend, the Commissioner of Motor Vehicles had created the Office for the Older Driver. This Department is to serve as a clearinghouse of information for mature drivers and their families. The office has created a Web site with driving tips, links to often-used forms and publications, what to look for in a vehicle, and evaluating the driver. The office is also working on other projects across the State, including promoting the "Car Fit" Program in conjunction with AAA, the AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association. Car Fit seeks to help drivers to make vehicle adjustments so that they are as safe and comfortable in their vehicles as possible.
The new Web site for NYSDMV Office for the Older Driver is www.nydmv.state.ny.us/olderDriver/default.html
Among the many on-line offerings, they provide the following suggestions for older drivers:
• Always wear your seat belt.
• Look for vehicles that enter the highway from curbs, driveways and businesses.
• Be alert for parked cars, pedestrians and cyclists.
• Check for traffic behind you. Turn your head and neck and look over your shoulder before you turn or change traffic lanes.
• Do not expect that you will be given the right of way, even if you know it ought to be given to you.
• Make sure that it is safe to pass or change traffic lanes before you do.
• Try not to drive at dusk or dawn when you cannot see as well
The Senior Connection is a column provided by the Clinton County Office for the Aging. For more information about services for senior citizens, contact their office at 135 Margaret St., Suite 105, Plattsburgh or call them at 565-4620. Information is also periodically provided by the Behavioral Health Services North Caregiver Resource Center. They may be reached at 565-4543 or 565-4625.