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ODOT: It’s important to talk about aging and driving


SALEM, Ore. (KTVZ) – Many of us will be there someday, so why not plan ahead, just like for retirement? The issue: what happens when we lose – or someone we know and love begins to lose – the skills required to drive safely.

Dec. 6 – 10 is Aging Driver Awareness Week, and ODOT’s Transportation Safety Office offers an easy-to-read guide for talking with your loved one about the situation.

There are other resources to help guide the conversation, too. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration, the American Occupational Therapy AssociationAARPAAA and the CDC encourage drivers and their families to begin a “transportation plan” so that when the time comes, it’s not a shock but instead, it’s something that’s been well-thought out.

Here are some important things to know:

  • Chronological age is important in society but tells us very little about a person’s abilities just by itself.
  • Whether it’s for your own safety or that of someone you love, it’s important to keep track of changes, such as vision, medications, physical limitations, reaction time, near misses and crashes.
  • Anyone could find themselves unable to drive at any time. Injuries or medical conditions, such as seizures, can affect anyone at any age and may render some people unable to provide their own transportation.

Having discussions about this topic and then making decisions can be difficult, but they also keep people – including the people we care about most – safe. Check out NHTSA’s tips on how to talk with someone about this, or have them do a self-assessment. If you are caregiver, Oregon DMV offers a valuable website with insight on warning signs, how to report a medically at-risk driver and more. Start planning now so the transition is safe and positive for everyone.

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