Seniors behind the wheel: Are you concerned?

The number of seniors on the road and their driving skills — or lack thereof — is a major concern according to a survey released today by the B.C. Automobile Association.

BCAA survey finds even seniors are worried about older drivers on the road

The number of seniors on the road and their driving skills — or lack thereof — is a major concern to British Columbians, according to the results of survey released today by the B.C. Automobile Association.

The BCAA found 72 per cent of drivers who took part in the online study are concerned about the safety of senior drivers.

More than half of study participants over 65 said they were concerned about how safe other drivers in their own age group are when on the road.

Of adults with aging parents who still drive, 63 per cent said they have not had a conversation about aging and safe driving, and 41 per cent said they didn't know how to spark that conversation.

“People are worried each time their aging loved one gets into the car to drive but, they don’t know what to do,” says Mark Donnelly, BCAA's director of communication and community impact.

“This is an important issue and will become even more important as more drivers age in this province," he said.

Donnelly said BCAA has now launched a new web toolkit to provide families with advice, a conversation guide and a video that may help them in their discussions on road safety with older family members.

An accident forced the conversation for Katherine Bickford, whose mother who lives in Nanaimo and still drives at 78.

"She called me and told me she rear-ended a car in the rain because she got confused when trying to get in the left hand turn on the Island Highway. I thought it was a bit of a wake up call for me and my mom," said Bickford.

BCAA's survey also revealed that many older drivers are starting to limit their time behind the wheel, or are taking other measure to ensure they are fit to drive.

Almost all of the seniors surveyed — 94 per cent — are taking such measures, including avoid high traffic hours, driving only when it is light out, or getting regular health exams.

The online survey of 801 people was conducted for BCAA by Insights West.

Have you tried to have a conversation about safety with an older driver in your family? How did it go?

Tell us in the comments below.

With files from the CBC's Meera Bains


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