As people grow older, driving abilities change
As a driver evaluator/trainer for over 30 years, I wish to share my thoughts about assessing older drivers whose driver safety is questionable. It is strongly recommend that any older driver whose driver safety is at question undergo a comprehensive, objective driver evaluation assessment, which typically includes visual screenings, functional assessment, cognitive screening and physical functions related to driving – sensation, endurance, muscle tone and reaction time.
Secondly, older driver should be assessed in terms of knowledge comprehension, including oral, traffic and general rules of roadway coupled with actual behind-the-wheel driving performance assessment.
Following the above two-part assessment screenings, results should be discussed with the driver and family members to determine the next action to be taken in accordance with New York State Department of Motor Vehicles regulations. If the older driver is determined an unsafe driver in accordance with state DMV guidelines, he/she should seek alternative transportation.
As responsible citizens, we must all remember that driving is a privilege and not a right. In conclusion, as we age our driving abilities will ultimately change and not always for the better.
Walter J. Arbutina
Town of Tonawanda