News & Press

American Geriatrics Society Joins National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to Help Older Adults Steer Clear of Car Crashes

Media Contact:
Zhenya Hurd
Project Manager
zhurd@americangeriatrics.org
212-308-1414 

New York, NY – The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is pleased to announce a new cooperative agreement with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) to educate healthcare providers and the public about older driver safety.

This collaboration is in response to current national trends. Over the last decade, the number of older drivers in the U.S. has increased more than 20 percent. Statistics from the Federal Highway Administration and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety indicate that per mile traveled, fatal crash rates increase starting at age 75 and increase notably after age 80. This is largely due to increased susceptibility to injury and medical complications among older drivers rather than to an increased tendency to get into crashes.

As part of the cooperative agreement, AGS is building on programs previously created by NHTSA and the American Medical Association. AGS and NHTSA will work together to revise and streamline web-based Continuing Medical Education (CME) content on how to assess and counsel older drivers, with the goal of increasing the number of participating health care providers. Materials for the interprofessional team and a mobile app that includes NHTSA’s current safe driver assessment tools will also be developed.

Existing public educational materials for older adults and caregivers will be revised and disseminated through the AGS Health in Aging Foundation’s website, HealthinAging.org, and on the AGS professional information portal, GeriatricsCareOnline.org. Medical practices and health plans can customize materials with their own “brand.”

Dr. Alice Pomidor, MD, MPH, AGSF, is leading the editorial board for the AGS/NHTSA collaborative project. Dr. Pomidor is chair of the AGS Public Education Committee and Professor, Department of Geriatrics, Florida State University College of Medicine. “Most helper organizations have a great tendency to say, ‘This is important. You should know this. Here.’ — and they develop handouts that get thrown away. We’re doing it a bit differently,” she says, “by providing the information in multiple formats and having people choose which one is right for them.”

The new professional and public education materials will be launched in Summer 2015.  In the interim, NHTSA has a web page devoted to older drivers.

“We’re pleased to have the opportunity to work with NHTSA in this effort to help older people remain safe behind the wheel, as well as to determine when the time is right for older adults to modify driving routines or to stop driving,” says AGS Board of Directors President, Wayne C. McCormick, MD, MPH, AGSF, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington, Division of Gerontology and Geriatric Medicine, Harborview Medical Center.


The American Geriatrics Society (AGS) is a not-for-profit organization of over 6,000 health professionals devoted to improving the health, independence and quality of life of all older people. The Society provides leadership to healthcare professionals, policy makers and the public by implementing and advocating for programs in patient care, research, professional and public education, and public policy.

October 7, 2014