Are Self Driving Cars a Solution for Senior Driving Safety?

Posted by Mike McQuinn on May 8, 2014 | no comments

In 2011, the State of Nevada passed a law permitting the use of autonomous cars. Over the years, more states have accepted auto or self driving cars and testing including: Florida, California and Michigan. Google has been a leading force in progressing toward self driving cars with their experimental driverless technology. Today, two types of drivers have a greater risk of accident behind the wheel, teen drivers and senior drivers. This technology may be the answer to help keep seniors safer and also retain their mobility and independence.

Colorado’s Adult Driving Laws

The laws for adult drivers licenses differ per state as drivers get older. In Colorado, adult licenses are renewed every 10 years until the age of 61, and then they must renew it every five years. At the age 66, Colorado requires all licensed elderly drives to renew by mail with a doctor or optometrist’s certificate with a passing score in an eye exam within the last 6 months. The average life expectancy of adults per National Geographic is 81 for women and 76 for men. This means that in Colorado, for most people, 20% or more of their eligible driving life will be restricted by these laws. For those who may not pass an eye exam, they may struggle with being immobile and dependent.

Autonomous Driving Cars Increasing Safety and Mobility

With the continued work toward driverless technology, driverless cars becomes closer to reality. The technology may solve some of the concerns and decrease the number of accidents involving older adults. Besides the obvious benefit to helping anyone who may be immobilized by licensing restrictions, it may also increase driver’s safety to even older adults that are licensed.

A consideration that has been addressed by many state and government agencies is the greater susceptibility to injury and fatality of elderly drivers.  According to the CDC there was a 23% increase of elderly drivers from 1999 to 2009. The solution of autonomous cars will hopefully help to reduce the number of injuries related to seniors as the amount of older adult drivers continues to increase.

Though this technology has not yet been approved in Colorado, and is a little ways off from being affordable for most, we may see senior communities and other emerging businesses make this a practical solution. This life changing technology will help older drivers, and those who are unable to drive to keep their mobility and independence. As this technology approaches, here is the some of the latest from Google demonstrating one of their self driving cars.

Colorado Driving Laws Source: http://www.claimsjournal.com/news/national/2012/09/19/213818.htm

Google Driverless Car Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Google_driverless_car

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