Older drivers are the fastest growing segment of the U.S. population. Not only will there be more drivers, but these drivers will also drive more miles per year than previous generations, and will drive at older ages. Older drivers currently make up 10 percent of all drivers. By the year 2020, one of four Florida residents will be over age 64, and half of them will be 75 or older.
Studies suggest that many older adults in the U.S. will outlive their ability to drive. Pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists share the road with drivers and this site will provide links to resources to make these driving alternatives safer for all road users.
The Roadway Safety Foundation, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) have created a Clearinghouse for Older Road User Safety (ChORUS). ChORUS serves as a centralized, user-friendly, and dynamic source of information pertaining to highway safety for aging drivers, passengers, pedestrians, and cyclists. Built as a comprehensive resource, similar to SafeMobilityFL.com, it covers all three major components of highway safety: safe roadways, safe road users, and safe vehicles on a national level.
One of the first resources the Coalition developed is the Guide for Aging Drivers, designed to help older adults continue to drive as long as safely possible and sharing information to help prepare for the day when they retire from driving. The guide was created to be a printed version of the transportation safety and mobility information contained on this website in consumer-friendly language.
The guide is now called Florida's Guide to Safe Mobility for Life and is new and improved! To learn more about this valuable resource and to get your copy of the guide, visit SafeMobilityFL.com/Guide.htm.
Older adults are the most vulnerable bicyclists. Nationally, adults over 65 make up 6 percent of bicycling trips, yet account for 10 percent of bicyclist fatalities.
According to the Bicycling & Walking in the United States: 2016 Benchmarking Report written by the Alliance for Biking and Walking, Florida ranks 42nd in number of commuters who bike or walk to work, but has the highest number of bicycle and pedestrian fatalities. The report also discusses that where bicycling and walking levels are higher, obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes levels are lower. Higher levels of bicycling and walking also coincide with increased bicycle and pedestrian safety and higher levels of physical activity. Increasing bicycling and walking can help solve many serious problems facing our nation.
For safety tips, guidance on choosing a bicycle, and other information on bicycling read Bicycling: Tips on How to Use Transportation Options in Florida.
Florida's Pedestrian and Bicyclist Safety Resource Center promotes safe pedestrian and bicycling activities for citizens and visitors, young and old, by providing educational materials and information to advocate groups in the state. This Center is funded by the FDOT's Safety Office and is housed at the University of Florida Technology Transfer (T2) Center.
FDOT's Bicycle and Pedestrian Partnership Council make policy recommendations to FDOT and transportation partners throughout Florida on the state’s walking, bicycling and trail facilities. Their mission is to assemble the many different partners needed to make statewide improvements in safety and facilities integration. The Council will include representatives from multiple state agencies, local governments and external stakeholders, including walkers, bicyclists and trail users. They will make recommendations on design, planning, safety and other programs involving bicycle and pedestrian issues.
Older adults are the most vulnerable pedestrians. Nationally, adults over 65 make up 10 percent of walking trips, yet comprise 19 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
The NHTSA website Mature Adults: Be Healthy, Walk Safely is designed to help you maintain your safety while walking - whether you are walking for exercise or to run errands.
The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center (PBIC) provides safety information as well as tools to help you determine how safe your neighborhood is for walking, and offers opportunities to get involved with the promotion of walkable communities.
The Alert Today Florida website is FDOT's pedestrian and bicycle focused initiative that is working toward the goal of increasing awareness and decreasing fatalities of bicyclists and pedestrians in Florida. Resources available on the website include materials and information on
Safe Steps - Pasos Seguros is an Elder Pedestrian Safety program established by the Alliance for Aging in 2011, funded by FDOT, to address the high number of elder pedestrian deaths and injuries in Miami-Dade and Monroe Counties. Visit their website to view public service announcements in English and Spanish, as well as learning how to schedule a workshop.
NHTSA conducted research examining the safety and mobility of older adults. The objective of this project was to identify appropriate countermeasures that will reduce older pedestrians' exposure to injuries and fatal crashes. This involved exploring countermeasures within the area of transportation as well as in other fields such as public health and education with the intention of identifying strategies that can be implemented to increase older pedestrian safety. The final report Identifying Countermeasure Strategies to Increase Safety of Older Pedestrians was published in July 2013 (DOT HS 811 798).
The Florida Department of Transportation has developed tip cards to help safely navigate Countdown Pedestrian Signals (PDF file).
Even at slow speeds, drivers may be concentrated on finding a parking space and not on driving. Pedestrians are at high risk for being injured by moving vehicles because drivers take safety for granted in these areas.
Stay alert and watch for vehicles in parking lots, using crosswalks when available. Read more in the Parking Lot Safety Tip Card (PDF file), and in Spanish, Consejos de Seguridad para los Peatones (PDF file), from FDOT and the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition.
Florida's warm climate permits year-round motorcycling, which places Florida's motorcyclists more at risk than those in many other states.
Ride Smart Florida is a complete resource for motorcycle riders, trainers, sponsors, local governments, law enforcement agencies, and emergency services.
Ride Smart Florida also has information to help motorists with their tips on how to safely share the road with motorcyclists.
Proper understanding of safety practices for motorcycles is essential for all. A motorcyclist should attend a rider training course in order to learn how to safely operate his/her vehicle and to obtain the required license to operate a motorcycle in Florida. Other drivers should allow a motorcycle a full lane width and signal your intentions, to avoid a motorcycle being in your blind spot. Allow a longer following distance from a motorcycle than with other vehicles. Motorcycle drivers should follow the rules of the road, be alert to other drivers, and wear protective gear.
More motorcycle safety information can be found at these links:
- ABATE of Florida Inc. Motorcycle Safety Awareness Program (MSAP)
- FLHSMV Florida Rider Training Program (FRTP)
- NHTSA Motorcycle Safety, Skills, and Licensing
- The Seasoned Rider Curricula by the Motorcycle Safety Foundation focuses on older motorcyclists and safe riding
In 2008, Florida enacted the Silver Alert program. Silver Alerts help local law enforcement find elders with dementia or other cognitive impairment and return them safely home if they become lost while driving a car or lost while on foot.
Read more about the program on the Dementia page.
Some tips for planning your transition from driver to non-driver from the Health in Aging Foundation can be found by clicking this link: Becoming a Non-Driver? Find Alternate Transportation Options.
Older driver safety fact sheets produced by the National Center on Senior Transportation (NCST) staff with assistance from national steering committee member Fran Carlin-Rogers:
- Older Driver Safety and Transition for the Mature Driver offers tips and advice on how to continue driving safely longer. Included in the fact sheets are a self-assessment, information on driver refresher courses, an explanation of the CarFit program, and mobility planning.
- Older Driver Safety and Transition for the Aging Network serves as a companion piece and is tailored to the aging network staff person, offering information and training about older driver safety and transitions useful to professionals and community agencies.
- AARP recently released the How the Travel Patterns of Older Adults Are Changing: Highlights from the 2009 National Household Travel Survey.
- American Society on Aging published an article in their Aging Today publication titled Can We Just Keep Rolling, Without Our Cars.
- There is more information on our Driving Skills page for age-related issues affecting driving, and some things older drivers can do to stay mobile longer on our Driver Wellness page.
- Older Adult Driver Motor Vehicle Safety website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
- Florida Department of Elder Affairs website.
- The Next Four Decades, The Older Population in the United States: 2010 to 2050 Report (U.S. Census Bureau).
- TRB Committee on Safe Mobility for Older Persons website (The National Academies Transportation Research Board). This as an an active group that meets annually to address relevant and pressing issues regarding safe mobility and older adults.
- Florida Aging and Disability Resource Centers (ADRC) website (Florida Department of Elder Affairs Association of Area Agencies on Aging).
- Read the AAA Foundation report on Pedestrian Signal Safety.