Florida leads the nation with 18 percent of its population age 65 and older. By the year 2030, over 27 percent will be over age 65, and half of them will be 75 or older. Mirroring this growth, an increasing proportion of licensed drivers in Florida are getting older. Today’s older drivers are driving for longer and driving more miles per year than in the past. In fact, most older adults can expect to outlive their ability to safely drive by 7 to 10 years.
To prepare and meet the challenges of Florida’s aging population, the Florida Department of Transportation (FDOT) implemented the Safe Mobility for Life Program in 2004 to improve the safety, access, and mobility of Florida’s aging population. This program identified key transportation safety and mobility resources that have the added benefit of improving transportation safety for everyone.
In September 2010, to further their effort and keep up with the growth trends, FDOT along with the Pepper Institute on Aging and Public Policy, reached out to other agencies and organizations to join together to form a statewide coalition to improve the safety, access, and mobility of Florida’s aging road users. Many agencies, organizations, and groups have responsibilities and interests in aging road user safety and mobility to improve or maintain quality of life. The Safe Mobility for Life Coalition includes professionals representing 26 organizations in the engineering, enforcement, safety, health, education, transportation, and aging agencies and organizations.
With an overall goal to reduce injuries and crashes among Florida’s aging road users, the Safe Mobility for Life Coalition developed a comprehensive Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan. This plan includes goals, objectives, and strategies to not only assist in reducing crashes within this vulnerable population through safety efforts but also address their access and mobility issues in order to sustain quality of life. Striking a balance between safety and mobility ensures that Floridians maintain independence and remain active in the community even when driving is no longer a safe option.
Florida’s Aging Road User Strategic Safety Plan provides a blueprint for state, regional and local agencies and private organizations that are committed to improving the safety, access and mobility of Florida’s aging population with the added benefit of improving safety, access, and mobility for everyone.
The complete plan can be viewed at: www.safeandmobileseniors.org/FloridaCoalition.htm#Strategic_Plan