Study shows increase in elderly drivers

By Morgan Lentes | 

HAZARD, Ky (WYMT) - A recent University of Michigan study shows people are not only living longer but driving longer too.

That has many wondering what is leading seniors to hold on to their licenses and if there are safer options out there for folks needing to get around.

In the study, researchers found that 78 percent represents how many seniors, age 70 or older, have a driver's license today.

While Linda Feltner is not quite 70 yet, she says it's still important for her to maintain her independence behind the wheel.

"I have two daughters but they both work and different things and I would be pretty much at home a lot if I did not drive," said Feltner.

This study's findings are considered interesting because of the increase in older drivers over the last several years.

In 1983, 55 percent of people over the age of 70 were still driving.

So with more elderly people on the road, many want to know it there is a safety issue for them and others.

But Feltner said she does not think so or at least not in her case.

"If I feel like that I am not safe on the highway, because I do not want to be of any danger to anybody else, then I would willingly hopefully give it up," said Feltner.

But not everyone is ready for that and that has area agencies trying to convince older drivers that they can get transportation assistance without giving up their independence.

One of those organizations is the Kentucky River Area Development District or KRADD.

"Not being able to get to the doctor, not being able to go anywhere, not being able to, to get to where you need to go, it is confiding," said Roll.

Peggy Roll works for KRADD and said they help seniors by providing transportation and other services.

"In many counties, they will work with the vocational schools and take them to get their hair done and take them shopping," said Roll.

KRADD covers eight counties in Eastern Kentucky, including: Wolfe, Lee, Owsley, Breathitt, Perry, Knott, Leslie and Letcher.

The study looked at driving patterns in all age groups.

It found that fewer teens are driving with only 31 percent of 16-year-olds having licenses today.

That was closer to 50 percent in 1983.

Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
powered by Disqus