Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Is It Time for "The Talk"?

The day is coming faster than I want it to come.

I'll have to sit her down and have "the talk."

It will be awkward. I'm going to stumble over my words. I'll need to be ready for any emotional outbursts. But it's all a part of life and I have to accept that.

"Mom," I'll say. "How do you feel about your driving? Do you think you're still a safe motorist?"

She's already cut back on her nighttime driving. It makes her uncomfortable. So her friends or one of my family members take the wheel instead.

The day she hands over the keys for good will be tough on this very independent lady, but she sees it coming, too.

"The last thing I want," she says, "is to hurt someone because I caused a crash."

Older drivers are the subject of a MoDOT-sponsored gathering this week. Experts from around the state will discuss the road safety needs of our aging population.

On their minds is this fact: Although drivers 65 and older account for eight percent of all miles driven, they comprise 17 percent of traffic fatalities.

We've got a lot of company in addressing the issues. A report released today from TRIP, a transportation research group, describes the efforts of state departments of transportation to address older drivers.

TRIP reports that the growing ranks of older Americans "will far outpace previous generations with their level of ability and activity. Serving their needs will require a transportation system that includes safer roads, safer vehicles and improved choices."

Visit now and in the months to learn more and to find tools to help older drivers you know and love.