Car features needed to assist aging motorists

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Daily Herald
SALT LAKE CITY– A new study from AAA finds that technology can’t resolve all the challenges faced by older drivers, but it can help. AAA is teaming up with the University of Florida’s National Older Driver Research and Training Center (NORDRTC) to identify vehicle features that can assist drivers with visual, physical and mental changes often associated with aging.

As a person ages, physiological changes can affect driving ability. Muscles strength, reaction times, range of motion and visual acuity tend to diminish as part of the natural aging process. Also, the increased prevalence of health issues such as arthritis, hip and knee joint pain or osteoporosis can reduce the ability to safely perform the complex task of driving.

People 65 and older are the fastest growing population segment. By 2020 there will be more that 40 million licensed drivers age 65 and older.

Because everyone ages differently, AAA recommends mature drivers look for vehicles with features that address their specific needs and health issues, which may include active head restraints, adjustable pedals, power-operated seat, large knobs and buttons, large wide-angle mirrors, moderate step-in height, four doors, keyless entry, keyless ignition, tilt-telescoping steering wheel, brake assist, low trunk height, anti-lock brakes and stability control.

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