Department Encourages Safe Driving for Older Residents

WDH   12-6, 2016

Wyoming’s older adults may want to take extra steps to help stay safe as they travel on the state’s roadways, according to the Wyoming Department of Health (WDH).

“Motor vehicle crashes are the second leading cause of fatal injuries for those 65 years of age and over,” said Dara Lawyer, WDH injury prevention coordinator.

Lawyer said men are more likely to experience a fatal motor vehicle crash. She noted 64 percent of deaths caused by unintentional motor vehicle crashes from 2004-15 among Wyoming residents involved men aged 65 and older.

“Being a safe driver at any age is important,” Lawyer said. “However, we know older adult drivers are more at risk for fatal car crashes due to their increase susceptibility to injury, particularly chest injuries, as well as medical complications.”

“Wearing a safety belt is so important. In fact, safety belt use reduces the risk of serious injuries and deaths by half,” Lawyer said.

Other tips for older drivers include:

  • Get an annual vision screening and always wear corrective lenses
  • Having hearing checked and keep the inside of the car quiet
  • Pay attention and adjust reaction time
  • Keep physically active and address pain or stiffness with a doctor
  • Have medications reviewed and learn how medications can impact driving
  • Improve driving skills by taking a defensive driving or driving refresher classes