Vehicles Equipped to Meet Needs of Senior Drivers
~ Help Increase Safety, Maintain Independence ~
DENVER – The fastest growing demographic in the United States is the aging baby boomer generation. Of the USA’s more than 70 million seniors who will be 65 and older by 2030, approximately 85-90 percent of them will likely be licensed to drive. While seniors are among the most comfortable drivers on the road, the fact is that natural changes to the body as a person ages can impact the ability to safely operate a motor vehicle.
Changes in vision, strength, flexibility, range of motion and even height can cause an experienced driver to be less confident behind the wheel, as well as reduce his control of the vehicle. While our ability to restrict the effects of aging is limited, there are automobile enhancements and safety features that make driving safer and more comfortable for seniors. “Safety and mobility for seniors is a quality of life issue,” said Ray Reilly, senior vice president of operations, Larry H. Miller Dealerships Colorado. “Automakers are designing vehicles geared to the needs of older drivers so seniors can maintain their independence and continue to live to their full potential. These improvements can help everyone remain safe behind the wheel longer.”
Research from The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab indicates that the top 10 features for older motorists are blind-spot warnings, crash mitigation systems, emergency response systems, drowsy driver alerts, reverse monitoring systems, vehicle stability control, lane departure warning, smart headlights, voice-activated systems, and parking assists. Additionally, many other features are available to accommodate targeted needs of mature drivers.
- Small-statured or overweight/obese: tilt and telescoping steering wheel, six-way adjustable seats, adjustable brake and accelerator foot pedals
- Arthritic hands or diminished fine motor skills: keyless entry, dashboard-mounted push-button ignition, thick steering wheel, power mirrors and seats, heated side mirrors, larger dashboard controls with buttons, automatic side door openers, automatic tailgate closer, rain sensor.
- Limited range of upper-body motion: adjustable seat belts, heated seats with lumbar support, large/wide-angle mirrors, rear backup camera, active parallel park assistance, front and rear sensors and warning systems.
- Hip or leg pain/limited knee range of motion: low door threshold, leather or faux leather seats, adjustable seats and foot pedals
- Diminished vision: auto-dimming rearview mirror, glare-reduction side mirrors, extendable sun visors, high-contrast instrument panel, larger audio and climate controls.
“The good news is that these smart features that benefit older drivers are available from the most popular automakers and in a variety of models,” said Reilly, who pointed out that all of the brands included in the Colorado-based Larry H. Dealerships – Toyota, Nissan, Ford, Chrysler, Dodge, Ram, Jeep and Volkswagen – offer senior-friendly elements in numerous vehicle styles. “These condition-targeted features can help seniors cope with age-related driving safety issues for years to come.”
About Larry H. Miller Dealerships
Larry H. Miller Dealerships operates 55 dealership locations under 20 different automotive brands in seven western states. The group employs more than 700 individuals at eight Colorado locations, including two in Colorado Springs. Larry H. Miller began his career as a parts salesman in Denver, Colorado in 1970. He opened his first store in the state in 1987, and currently owns Toyota, Ford, Chrysler Dodge Jeep Ram, Nissan and Volkswagen stores. For more information on Larry H. Miller Dealerships, please visit www.lhmauto.com.