Resources Available To Help Seniors Stay Safe Behind The Wheel

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CRANBERRY (KDKA) — Retiring from driving can be tough for many seniors because it means surrendering some independence. It can be a sensitive subject. If you think your parent or grandparent should not be driving, there are some things you can do.

Having a car that fits you is key to safety, especially for senior drivers! It’s why AAA East Central is hosting a free Car-Fit workshop in Cranberry.

“I think more people should take advantage of it,” said Drew Koval of Gibsonia.

“Hopefully by fitting the driver into their car better, they will be able to drive safer and longer,” said Terri Rae Anthony, Safety Advisor with AAA East Central.

To make sure everything is well-adjusted to the driver, technicians go through a safety checklist. According to Anthony, technicians get answers to questions including, “Is there enough room for the airbag to deploy? Can they see over the steering wheel? How are they moving their foot from the gas to the brake pedal?”

“The distance between your steering wheel and your chest, it should be at least 12 inches. I had to make that adjustment. Mine was not where it was supposed to be,” said Koval.

“The side mirrors, which was really kind of important for me, they fixed them and got it exactly right,” said Teresa Wolken of Gibsonia.

PennDOT randomly chooses drivers 45 and older to be retested. They must have a physical exam and vision exam. They may have to re-take their driving and written exam.

“It’s very difficult for family members to turn in their loved ones, so to speak. What we can do is kind of take that away from them and kind of put the onus either on us or on a physician to evaluate whether they are capable to safely operate a motor vehicle,” said Sgt. Bill Ahlgren, of Cranberry Twp. Police Dept.

Family members can write to PennDOT, requesting their loved ones’ license be reevaluated. The requests are kept confidential, but if there is an appeal in court, the document may be shown as evidence.

Police and accident reports help PennDOT determine who should be evaluated. Physicians are legally required to report to PennDOT everyone 15 or older diagnosed with condition that could impair their driving ability.

A driver refresher course is always another option.

Pennsylvanians 65 and over are eligible for the free transit program and the shared ride program. For more information visit www.aging.pa.gov.

For more information on the CarFit program, go to car-fit.org.

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