May 2024 Press Release

Safe Communities announced today that there have been 5 fatal crashes this year compared to 4 at this time last year.
Aging affects everyone differently. When it comes to driving, it is important to understand the impact age-related changes may have on one’s safe driving ability.
This year to date in Wood County, 80% of fatal crashes have involved mature drivers.  That is an alarming number compared to 50% last year at this time.  Honestly, both numbers are alarming!  25% of the crashes involving mature drivers this year resulted in an injury.
Mature drivers are one of our top priorities in Wood County.  We have education and awareness available for mature drivers – just ask!  We will speak to any group of citizens, civic organizations and the like.  We have our Car Fit programs, both large scale events and 1 on 1 opportunities with Sandy, and a new educational opportunity discussing the technology in your vehicle.
Let’s look at these talking points regarding mature drivers:

  • Motor vehicle crashes are more harmful for older adults than their younger counterparts because older adults are more likely to have declining functional abilities and frailty which can affect safe driving and recovery time from injuries.
  • Decisions about someone’s ability to drive should never be based on age alone. However, changes in vision, physical fitness, and reflexes may cause safety concerns. By accurately assessing age-related changes, drivers can adjust their driving habits to remain safe on the road or choose other kinds of transportation. (Car Fit)
  • One way to stay safe while driving is by making sure you understand how medical conditions can affect one’s ability to drive safely.  Have a yearly discussion with your pharmacist how your prescriptions may interact with each other and affect your driving ability.
  • Begin talking about safe driving in general long before difficulties are noticed. Ultimately, it is a person’s driving performance, not age, that should determine fitness to drive. (Car Fit)
  • Plan trips at times of day when traffic is light, and plan routes to reduce conflict with other traffic.
  • Driving at night may become challenging as one ages, and honestly at any age.
    • Older drivers can plan their schedule early to be home before the sun goes down.
    • During the winter months the sun goes down early, so plan accordingly.
    • When out in the dark, be sure headlights are on, slow down and keep an eye out for all road users.
  • Older drivers should be proactive about being safe drivers.
  • Families of older drivers should work with their loved ones to plan for safe mobility even beyond the driver’s seat.

Sandy and her Safe Communities Coalition Partners are always available to discuss driving challenges for mature drivers.  Please reach out to her at with any questions or concerns.
For more information:
Sandy Wiechman

Updated: 05/22/2024 12:14PM