MORE THAN ONE QUAR­TER OF CANADIANS WANT TO HOLD ON TO THEIR DRIVER’S LI­CENCE PAST 85 YEARS OF AGE

NEW STATE FARM CANADA SUR­VEY HIGH­LIGHTS SEN­SI­TIV­ITY AND CON­CERNS ABOUT SE­NIORS BE­HIND THE WHEEL

Road Today - - Road Safety -

As Cana­dian boomers age, the num­ber of elderly driv­ers on our roads in­creases. Statis­tics Canada’s 2016 cen­sus re­veals that those 65 years of age and over now out­num­ber those 14 years of age and un­der for the first time ever. But vi­tal con­ver­sa­tions about how to de­ter­mine when a per­son is un­fit to drive are dif­fi­cult.

At what age do you think you will give up your li­cence? More than one quar­ter of Canadians want to hold on to their driver’s li­cence past 85...

Ac­cord­ing to a re­cent na­tional sur­vey from State Farm Canada, one in ten re­spon­dents has been in a col­li­sion in­volv­ing a se­nior cit­i­zen. And while 94 per cent of re­spon­dents be­lieve that in­di­vid­u­als should speak with se­nior fam­ily mem­bers about giv­ing up their li­cence if they are con­cerned about their safety, only 2 per cent of se­niors sur­veyed said that a fam­ily mem­ber has had that con­ver­sa­tion with them.

In a 2011 re­port, Trans­port Canada stated that driv­ers aged 65 and over rep­re­sent 17 per cent of fa­tal­i­ties though they only ac­count for 14 per cent of li­censed driv­ers. And the rate of fa­tal­i­ties per dis­tance trav­elled in­creases con­sid­er­ably at age 75. As se­niors age, they are more likely to de­velop phys­i­cal and cog­ni­tive in­fir­mi­ties.

“Canadians are con­flicted when it comes to the bal­ance be­tween road safety and the au­ton­omy as­so­ci­ated with driv­ing.” says John Bordignon, Me­dia Re­la­tions, State Farm Canada. “These are ex­tremely dif­fi­cult dis­cus­sions for fam­i­lies to have. When a per­son is deemed un­fit to drive, it can feel like a sud­den loss of in­de­pen­dence. To make the tran­si­tion eas­ier, it’s im­por­tant for fam­ily mem­bers to have sup­port­ive con­ver­sa­tions early on and ex­plore trans­porta­tion al­ter­na­tives over

time, so that changes in life­style come grad­u­ally.”

Tough Con­ver­sa­tions

Just 33 per cent of re­spon­dents to State Farm Canada’s sur­vey say that they have had a con­ver­sa­tion with a se­nior fam­ily mem­ber about giv­ing up their li­cence due to con­cerns about safety, but when those con­ver­sa­tions oc­cur they don’t al­ways go well.

Of those re­spon­dents who say they have spo­ken with a se­nior fam­ily mem­ber about giv­ing up their li­cence, nearly 80 per cent said that they faced re­sis­tance from the fam­ily mem­ber.

When asked what they be­lieve to be the big­gest fac­tors keep­ing se­niors from giv­ing up their li­cence, 74 per cent said a loss of in­de­pen­dence, 12 per cent said a lack of aware­ness about the warn­ing signs of driv­ing in­ca­pac­ity, 6 per cent said lack of public trans­porta­tion, and 4 per cent said the cost of taxis.

A Driver’s Age

Ac­cord­ing to re­search con­ducted by the Traf­fic In­jury Re­search Foun­da­tion in 2016, driv­ers aged 65 and older are over-rep­re­sented in crashes, par­tic­u­larly those aged 80 and older. Partly be­cause se­niors are more sus­cep­ti­ble to in­jury and less likely to sur­vive a se­ri­ous col­li­sion than younger driv­ers. Driv­ers 65 and over are also sus­cep­ti­ble to age-re­lated de­clines in re­ac­tion time and mo­bil­ity, and can be af­fected by fac­tors such as heart dis­ease, vis­ual im­pair­ment, de­men­tia, and im­pair­ment due to pre­scrip­tion med­i­ca­tion.

Hang­ing up the Keys

The State Farm Canada sur­vey in­di­cates that Cana­dian se­niors are reluc­tant to give up their keys with 26 per cent say­ing they want to hold onto their li­cence past 85 years of age.

So when the time fi­nally comes, what are the fac­tors that would lead some­one to give up their li­cence? Ac­cord­ing to re­spon­dents 65 years of age and older, the three big­gest fac­tors af­fect­ing their de­ci­sion are advice from a med­i­cal pro­fes­sional (94 per cent), con­cerned fam­ily mem­bers and friends (27 per cent), and a col­li­sion (14 per cent).

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