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Elderly Drivers: Taking the Keys?

We look at the issue of aging drivers — and when it’s time to quit. Read what the NTSB chair had to say during the show.

Harriet Butler, 99, left, and her daughter Marcia Savarese, 73, at their home in Vienna, Va., Nov. 8, 2010. The National Transportation Safety Board held a recent forum to understand the safety risks that older drivers face. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Americans are getting older, which means American drivers are getting older. The number of seniors on the road will double in the next 20 years to 1-in-5, maybe 1-in-4, or more, depending where you live. 

Many 65-plus drivers are excellent – experienced, careful, keen. Others are not. 

The headlines of elderly drivers plowing through Wal-Mart windows, mowing down innocents, are unnerving. So is the job of asking older relatives if it’s time to stop. 

But giving up the keys can look like a prison sentence in this country. We look at how to handle America’s aging drivers.

-Tom Ashbrook

Guests:

Deborah Hersman, chairman of the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board. She convened the NTSB’s forum on safety, mobility and aging drivers last week. Read a transcript of her interview with On Point.

Sandra Rosenbloom, professor of planning and gerontology at the University of Arizona. She’s an expert on the societal impacts of aging populations and their travel needs. She was a panelist at the NTSB forum last week on aging drivers.

Joseph Coughlin, founder and director of the MIT AgeLab, which researches how the convergence of baby boomer expectations and technology will drive change in public policy and business. He was a panelist at the NTSB forum last week on aging drivers.

State Senator Brian Joyce (D-MA). He’s been pushing for greater testing for elderly drivers.

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