California’s senior citizen population is one of the fastest-growing driving-age demographics in the state. According to the California Department of Finance, there will be more than 6 million seniors age 65 or older by the year 2020 in this state.
“Getting older does not mean the end of a person’s driving days,” California Highway Patrol Commissioner Joe Farrow said. “It’s the perfect time to evaluate, improve and maintain the safety and mobility of California’s senior drivers.”
With more and more seniors taking to the roads every year, the CHP has received a federal grant that not only will help educate senior drivers and raise their awareness about how to keep safe on the roads, but will ultimately assist in the CHP’s mission of saving lives.
The overall goal of the “Keeping Everyone Safe (KEYS) II” grant is to reduce the number of fatal and injury collisions caused by senior drivers within CHP jurisdiction by 5 percent by Sept. 30, 2011.
To achieve this goal, the CHP will launch a statewide public education and awareness campaign focusing on senior traffic safety and mobility. Television and radio public service announcements and community-based committees will be established. These committees will collaborate to assess the issues most relevant to senior drivers and to make recommendations to address the needs of the senior driving community.
These committees will include members from public and private organizations, including law enforcement, health and aging professionals, transportation agency representatives and other interested parties. In addition, CHP personnel will conduct public awareness and educational presentations statewide.
“With California’s senior population doubling in size by 2020, we need to take care of our older drivers, passengers and pedestrians using our roadways,” Farrow said.
This grant is presented in collaboration with the California Department of Motor Vehicles. Funding for the “Keeping Everyone Safe (KEYS) II” grant was provided by the California Office of Traffic Safety through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
— Jeremy Wayland is a public information officer for the California Highway Patrol, Santa Barbara Area.