Florida’s Older Driver Safety Awareness Week
THE VILLAGES – The VHA, in partnership with The Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT), will host a “Safe Mobility For Life” workshop at the Rohan Regional Recreation Center on Wednesday, December 5th from 6:30 – 8:30pm.
The workshop, which is a free VHA members-only event, will feature speakers from the FDOT who will instruct attendees about specific factors and functions of aging that lead to a decline in driving skills.
In addition to offering practical strategies to improve safe driving skills, the workshop will also address when and why aging motorists should stop driving. With this, facilitators will show participants how to proactively establish a plan to transition away from driving when the time comes.
To build awareness about alternative transportation options for when driving no longer becomes safe, the VHA has arranged for representatives from the AAA Carfit Program, AARP’s Safe Driver Program, the Villages Bicycle Friendly Advocacy Council, the VHA’s own Golf Car Safety Program, and The Voyage Autonomous Car program to provide additional information and to answer participant questions.
According to Art Donnelly, the VHA South Region AVP, the workshop is the only one of its kind to be held in Central Florida.
“Every year, more than six hundred thousand people over 70 stop driving and become dependent on others for transportation,” Donnelly said. “Once a person stops driving, they make 15% fewer trips to the doctor and 65% fewer trips for social, family and religious activities.”
This, according to Donnelly, can significantly contribute towards a person’s declining health and social well-being.
“To live independently and age successfully, older Americans must be able to maintain a mobile lifestyle, which means they must be able to get to and from the places they need and want to go with or without a car,” he said.
The FDOT established the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition to address the unique needs of Florida’s increasing aging population of drivers. To help bring awareness to the cause, FDOT established an annual Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which is observed each year in the first week of December.
The Coalition is a statewide effort that includes representatives from FDOT, Florida State University’s Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, and various national, state and local organizations that focus on safety for the aging.
Donnelly invites any interested parties to contact him directly at 631-792-2203 for more information about this limited-seating, first-come, first-served workshop where a VHA member card is required for entry.
Though the event is for members only, those interested in joining the VHA can do so at the door.
“Become part of our wonderful volunteer organization committed to ‘Keeping the Dream Alive,’” Donnelly said.