Older adults want to drive safely and often will self-restrict their driving to avoid riskier situations such as darkness, rush hour, or unfamiliar roads. What they cannot avoid is the impact that aging has on their driving ability. While most older adults are not at-risk drivers, they can find themselves in situations where they need assistance. Law enforcement officials, who older adults trust, can help an aging driver steer clear of harm's way on the road by:
- Making a referral for medical review to the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicle;
- Suggest they contact their local area agency on aging to connect with community resources to remain safe and mobile; and
- Citing drivers who violate traffic laws.
Staying Engaged and Proactive
Law enforcement official can also be helpful when it comes to interacting with stakeholders on the topic. Stakeholders may include families, partners, friends, and community agencies. The following are some ways enforcement personnel can assist:
- Act as a trusted authority in evaluating driving safety;
- Support legal efforts to appropriately restrict or remove driving privileges;
- Seek information and assistance on the health and mobility situation of the older driver from loved ones; and
- Assist the community agencies in conducting safety programs or events, such as CarFit.
Helping the Aging Driver
There are times when officer observations could indicate a potential medical condition that might affect a person's ability to drive safely.
For this reason, Florida's Safe Mobility for Life Coalition developed a Driver Medical Referral visor card to provide law enforcement officials with quick access to available information and resources. Law enforcement can order a hard copy of the visor card for their patrol cars by sending their name and mailing address to firstname.lastname@example.org or calling 850-644-8426. An electronic version can be downloaded and printed by clicking the image (opens a PDF).
More information on how aging can affect a driver's abilities can be found on our Driving Skills page.
Another useful resource is Florida's Guide to Safe Mobility for Life, which is designed to help aging road users remain safe, independent, and active within their communities whether they're driving or not. This guide provides detailed information on the keys to achieve Safe Mobility for Life:
- Understand the impact aging has on driving
- Be proactive as a driver, pedestrian, bicyclist, transit rider, motorcyclist, and golf cart driver
- Plan for a safe transition from driving
Florida's Guide to Safe Mobility for Life is available digitally through a variety of platforms. Hard copies can also be ordered through the Safe Mobility for Life Resource Center.
Education and Training
To make sure law enforcement personnel are prepared to deal with the ever-increasing number of aging road users that are residents or visitors, the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition developed a 9-minute law enforcement video. Watch and share the "Helping Florida's Aging Drivers Stay Safe and Mobile" video to learn how to:
- Identify drivers who may have a medical impairment;
- Respond to these drivers; and
- Find available community resources to help them.
The Florida Law Enforcement Liaison (LEL) Program is a grant funded program sponsored by FDOT and NHTSA. Their goal is to reduce traffic-related fatalities and injuries by working with law enforcement agencies across the state to:
- Boost safety belt use
- Reduce drunk driving
- Encourage traffic safety initiatives
The Pedestrian and Bicycling Resource Center has information about enforcement and training of bicycle and pedestrian laws.
The International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) Alzheimer's Initiatives Program training for law enforcement personnel teaches how to respond to individuals with Alzheimer's Disease in various situations. You can download the videos for free here.