PENNSYLVANIA — This past week, the Shapiro Administration marked Older Driver Safety Week by spotlighting the resources available to older drivers across the Commonwealth. The aim is to address the unique challenges these drivers face and to ensure their safety on the road.
Pennsylvania offers a network of shared-ride service providers dedicated to keeping senior citizens mobile, safe, and engaged in their communities. This free transportation program allows residents aged 65 or older to ride for free on local, fixed-route services whenever local public transit is operational. During the 2022-23 fiscal year, more than 2.2 million Senior Shared Rides were reported.
Approximately 25% of Pennsylvania’s 9.1 million licensed drivers are aged 65 or older. In 2022, there were 20,590 crashes involving at least one driver aged 65 or older, resulting in 287 total fatalities. These incidents accounted for 17.7% of all crashes and 24.3% of all fatalities. Despite having fewer crashes per driver than the national average, older drivers have more accidents per mile driven.
To further assist older drivers, PennDOT, in collaboration with the PA Department of Human Services and transit agencies, has developed an online tool called ‘Find My Ride.‘ This tool allows older drivers to access free ride services online, enabling transit agencies to process applications more efficiently and users to access benefits more quickly.
During Older Driver Safety Week, representatives from PennDOT, PDA, PSP, AAA, and AARP manned information booths sharing advice and methods to help The Manor at Oakridge residents safely extend their years on the road. They discussed several programs, including CarFit, an educational initiative designed to help older drivers assess how well they currently “fit” their personal vehicle and learn how they can improve this fit to enhance safety.
PennDOT’s website offers a list of approved mature driver courses that can help older drivers enhance their skills and knowledge.
As people age, they often experience subtle physical, visual, and cognitive changes that may affect their ability to drive safely. The Shapiro Administration encourages older drivers and their families to work together to identify potential issues, outline courses of action, and plan for when it might be time to stop driving.
The administration also recommends reviewing PennDOT’s ‘Seniors Driving Safely‘ publication series. The series helps older drivers assess their abilities, offers guidance on next steps if their medical condition is reported to PennDOT, and provides information for healthcare providers on PennDOT’s medical reporting program.
Remember, ensuring the safety of our older drivers is a shared responsibility. Let’s all work together to keep Pennsylvania’s roads safe.