NE street remains worst for auto accidents involving seniors

The Northeast remains the city’s hot spot for auto crashes involving senior citizens. Not particularly great news for grandpop and grandmom, but news they should have.

This Sunday, Sept. 7, is Grandparents Day, and it might be a good time to remind them to watch out while on the Northeast’s streets.

According to AAA Mid-Atlantic figures, a section of Grant Avenue between the Roosevelt Boulevard and Blue Grass Road remains the worst stretch in the city for auto accidents that involve seniors.

“For the five-year period from 2009–2013, there were 31 crashes and 37 injuries on the eastbound side of this section of Grant Avenue, while the westbound side had 29 crashes and 36 injuries,” the auto club reported.

Top crash corridors for senior drivers typically are busy commercial highways, close to shops, senior centers and residential areas. That’s a pretty good description of Grant and the Boulevard.

Are the numbers a putdown of the older drivers? Not really.

“In simple terms, senior crashes happen in places where there are more seniors,” said Jenny M. Robinson, manager of Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic. “Older drivers as a group are very safe, and have lower crash rates than young drivers. This data simply points to locations which may have larger concentrations of seniors who can benefit from highway safety programs and driver improvement courses.”

One out of five of the state’s 1.8 million drivers are 65 or older, AAA reported.

“There are more senior drivers on the road, and the number keeps growing each year as our population ages. We want seniors to understand they shouldn’t wait until a family member has ‘the talk’ with them, or even takes the keys away. AAA encourages mature drivers to be proactive, maintain their skills, and self-limit their driving if needed, so they can keep driving safer and longer,” Robinson added.

AAA reported older drivers are among the nation’s safest road users. They tend not to drink and drive, and they frequently buckle up, avoid distractions and self-regulate their driving to relatively low-risk times and conditions.

Research has shown that older drivers pose less risk to other motorists and road users than younger drivers do; however, their crash involvement rates increase slightly after about age 75, and due to fragility that comes with age, they are much more likely to be severely injured or killed if they are involved in a crash, according to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety.

Seniors can get free help and resources at Driving

This one-stop website, for members and nonmembers alike, links to AAA’s Senior Driver courses, available either online or in a classroom.

The site also offers state-specific driver information, quizzes and even unique brain fitness exercises shown to cut the risk of a traffic crash in half. More features of the site are: Roadwise Rx to check the effects of medications, links to senior driver courses and Smart Features for Older Drivers, listing specific vehicle features that are helpful to older adults.

For more info on classroom and online driving courses for seniors, call 877–457–0711. ••