Friday, February 18, 2005

Aging drivers: a vast growth industry

DeKalb Medical Center - Providing Healthcare Services in Decatur, GA and DeKalb County

DeKalb medical center (Atlanta) offers driving skills assessments through their rehab center:
Driving Solutions Program (Inpatient and Outpatient)

This specialty program provides driver assessment, training and adaptive equipment recommendations for vehicle operation. The assessment process includes tests of vision, visual perception and reaction time, as well as assessment of cognitive and physician functioning. Driver training is available to new and experienced drivers to promote safety and competency behind the wheel. Training in the use of adaptive equipment is available.
When I was in practice the aging driver was one of my tougher management challenges. It's not only that driving ability decreases with advanced age, it's also that judgment often deteriorates in parallel with visual, sensory and motility loss.

As we boomers age, we're going to turn the roads into a slaughterhouse. For a time no-one will dare take the wheel from our voting hands. Bicyclists will become extinct (I suspect rising bicycle fatalities is a leading indicator of aged drivers), until finally the survivors will rise up. We'll then have to go through regular (q1-2y) examinations. Ultimately there will be enough of us near-suicidal 75+ yo non-drivers that we'll actually get a decent transit alternative going.

Or maybe cars will get "smart" enough that they can be "driven" by a fairly impaired person...

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