Assessing the Needs of Delaware's Older Drivers

In the light of Delaware's aging population age 60 and older (60+), it is important to plan for the state's projected increase in older drivers. Information from the United States Census Bureau (2005) indicates that Delaware is projected to have the ninth largest percentage of elderly residents to general population by 2030. Additionally research from the University of Delaware's Center for Applied Demography and Survey Research (2006) illustrates that Sussex County is projected to experience the most significant percentage growth between 2000 and 2030. Delaware reflects national trends in terms of its percentage of licensed drivers over the age of 65. According to the Delaware Department of Transportation (2004), in 2003, 15.3 percent of licensed drivers were over the age of 65. Many younger seniors 50-65 prefer to drive, and with few transportation alternatives in the state, dependency of private vehicles is likely to continue. However factors that pose risks to older drivers include impaired vision, diminished cognition, and decreased motor-function. Current road designs should be reviewed to determine whether modifications are necessary to better accommodate Delaware's older drivers. Possible modifications include making intersections more driver- and pedestrian-friendly and improving traffic signs and signal design. Additionally, comprehensive assessment, education, and outreach programs can assist individuals, families, and physicians facilitate discussions about driving and promote mobility and independence among older Delawareans. Like other states that are addressing this issue, Delaware should apply resources for such modifications and initiatives to areas that pose the greatest safety concerns. Chosen areas should be based on the state's current and projected demographic trends as well as crash data. Better coordination and collaboration among state advocacy groups and agencies will also foster overall improved awareness and education for individuals and families who are concerned about the potential risks associated with oder drivers. This paper begins with an overview of the issues and implications related to driving and long-term mobility.


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    • Status: Completed
    • Sponsor Organizations:

      Delaware Department of Transportation

      P.O. Box 778
      Dover, DE  United States  19901
    • Performing Organizations:

      Delaware Center for Transportation

      University of Delaware
      Newark, DE  United States  19716
    • Principal Investigators:

      Dworsky, Bernie

    • Start Date: 20060701
    • Expected Completion Date: 0
    • Actual Completion Date: 20070630
    • Source Data: RiP Project 18666

    Subject/Index Terms

    Filing Info

    • Accession Number: 01462526
    • Record Type: Research project
    • Source Agency: Delaware Department of Transportation
    • Files: RIP, STATEDOT
    • Created Date: Jan 3 2013 2:05PM