Missouri Road Coalition Addresses Elderly Driving Safety

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COLUMBIA - The Missouri Coalition for Roadway Safety held a conference Wednesday to address driver safety for the elderly. The meeting consisted of five speakers who shared stories and facts about the potential risks drivers face at advanced ages. The goal of the meeting is to help older people make positive decisions when it comes to motor vehicle, and offer alternatives when they choose to give up their keys.

Fatal accidents involving drivers over the age of 80 is almost the same as novice drivers ages 16 to 19. Dr. James Kessel with University of Missouri Hospital said though elderly drivers often have years of experience, declines in vision, motor skills, or cognition that come with old age can increase the risk of a crash.

"We think helping older people plan for a time when they will no longer drive is critical to avoiding the consequences of any declines. We hope that older drivers will come to see that giving up the keys is an opportunity for positive changes, and continued safe mobility," said Kessel.

Adult drivers over the age of 55 made up 26 percent of Missouri's motor vehicle crash deaths in 2012.