Aged Or Impaired Drivers Retaught With Driving Simulator - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

8/25/05

Aged Or Impaired Drivers Retaught With Driving Simulator

For senior citizens, being able to drive or knowing when to give up the car keys is a very difficult and emotional issue. There is a safe way to evaluate an older driver, and help them brush up on their skills.   

"I had a stroke and the only way i can drive is i have to take the simulator," says 57 year old Fannie George who is re-learning how to drive.
 
Euclid Hospital offers the driving simulator as an aid to help people whose skills may have declined because of age or impairment. 
 
"We're not about taking away your driver's license.   What we do is assess your strengths and weaknesses and where we detect weakness we want to improve on those," says David Lea of Euclid Hospital in Cleveland. 
 
A driving program is created that tests Fannie in a variety of weather conditions and road hazards. 
 
 Studies show by age 70 motor skills and reaction time begin to decline in seniors.   While they may be more cautious drivers, they're still involved in more accidents.
 
Those accidents are typically not as traumatic, but they can damage confidence.   The simulator can help. 
 
"It made me to see that I still had it, that I can do it if I want to," says Fannie.
 
It also let Fannie know when not to drive. 
 
"Not in the night time until i get more confidence," says Fannie.
 
After the computer trip her skills are tested on the real road.   Lynne
Taylor is an on-road specialist. 
 
"At times it may be more beneficial for the patient for us to come out of their home where we can assess their driving skills in their own neighborhoods and territory familiar to them." says Lynne
Taylor an on-road specialist. 
 
In eight years the program's made more than a thousand assessments. Giving Fannie back her independence and a good reminder. 
 

"We have over a 95 percent success rate at having people either maintain
their independent driving or return to independent driving," says David Lea.
 
 
 

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