AAA: 90 Percent of Seniors Fail to Make Vehicle Adjustments to Improve Safety

elderly woman with hands on steering wheelSenior citizens can make simple, inexpensive modifications to their cars to help them overcome aging-related visual and physical impairments that can increase their risk of an accident. Unfortunately, the majority of seniors are failing to make these changes, according to a study released by the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

The study found that almost 90 percent of drivers 65 years old or older do not make modifications to their cars that could help keep them safe and allow them to drive for longer.

Senior drivers are more than twice as likely as younger drivers to die in a car crash. Seniors are also the fastest-growing segment of drivers – they are expected to make up more than 25 percent of all drivers by 2025, according to AAA.

Types of Vehicle Adjustments

For the study, AAA researchers surveyed older drivers to determine if they used vehicle adaptations that could improve safety, including:

  • Seat belt extensions – Extensions make seat belts longer, helping older drivers who have decreased strength or limited mobility with fastening their seat belt.
  • Steering wheel modification – A variety of steering wheel modifications can make it easier for drivers to operate a car. For instance, drivers can install a knob that allows them to steer with one hand. Another modification reduces the strength required to turn the steering wheel.
  • Driver seat cushions – A cushion helps raise drivers in their seats and improve posture so they have a better view of the road. Cushions can also make the driver's seat more comfortable.
  • Hand controls – A hand control is essentially a lever that allows the driver to operate the brake and accelerator with a hand rather than his or her feet. Some drivers' lack of leg strength makes it difficult to switch between the brake and accelerator with their feet.
  • Left-foot throttle – A left-foot throttle is a modification to the accelerator that allows a driver with an impairment in his or her right leg to operate the accelerator safely.
  • Pedal extension – A pedal extension or gas-pedal block attaches to the accelerator or brake pedal to bring it closer to the driver's feet, allowing drivers to reach it from higher up.
  • Push-button ignition – Drivers who suffer from arthritis may find it challenging to turn the key to start the car. Installing a push-button ignition allows the driver to start the car at the touch of a button.
  • Custom armrests – Customized armrests provide improved support and comfort for drivers.
  • Convex/multifaceted mirrors – A convex or multifaceted mirror can increase the driver's field of vision and possibly eliminate blind spots.
  • Upper body support – The elderly often have back or shoulder problems that can compromise posture behind the wheel. A variety of cushions and other supports can make it easier for older drivers to sit up straight.
  • Modified secondary controls – Secondary controls can also be modified, allowing easier access to the windshield wipers, turn signals, cruise control, headlights and horn.

Unfortunately, researchers discovered many seniors have not installed these helpful modifications on their cars, even though more than 70 percent of those surveyed for this study had health conditions that would benefit from assistance, including arthritis, joint pain, and hip or knee replacements.

Contact a Car Accident Attorney

Have you been injured in an accident caused by a negligent driver?

If you were injured or lost a loved one in a Sacramento car accident, you may be able to obtain compensation for damages. Contact a Sacramento car accident lawyer at the Arnold Law Firm for a free consultation to determine your legal options.

A personal injury attorney from our firm can manage every aspect of your claim, including investigating and negotiating the compensation you deserve. We will not charge unless you receive compensation.

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