Driving Safety and Seniors

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The ability to drive gives the license holder both a sense of freedom and independence, but as people hit their senior years and physical changes, like vision and hearing, become impaired a driver may have to reevaluate his decision to hit the road.

"Many seniors are very good drivers," said Maj. Ward Calhoun of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department. "I would hope that most drivers would want to be safe and would realize when there are impairments."

According to the American Association of Retired Persons, physical changes that happen to older people, such as loss of vision, hearing, and physical strength can go undetected until a driving emergency arises.

Statistics show that about twenty percent of people 55 and over have impaired hearing while about 30 percent ages 65 and over are hearing impaired, which could greatly affect driving ability.

"Make sure (eye) prescriptions are current and keep conversations at a minimum," advised Calhoun. "There are a lot of groups out there to help, so be smart and keep yourself safe."

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration also says that staying on top of your mental and physical health, including eye exams, or even taking a driver refresher course could aid in driving safely.