In support of aging Americans and increased mobility options and opportunities, the American Public Transportation Association (APTA) endorsed and participated in Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, which was being sponsored by the American Occupational Therapy Association.
The goal of Older Driver Safety Awareness Week — December 6-12, 2009 — was to increase safety by informing the public that the aging driver has travel options, and to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensure older adults remain active in the community.
Four years ago this month, 1,200 delegates to the White House Conference of Aging voted on 73 resolutions. The third highest vote getting resolution, with more than 1,000 votes, was a resolution for expanding transportation options for seniors, including increased funding for public transportation targeted to senior needs. This resolution received more votes than resolutions for Medicare and Social Security.
“Transportation independence is important for all Americans,” said American Public Transportation Association (APTA) President William Millar. “However, access to public transportation is especially crucial for those individuals who no longer drive; by riding public transportation older Americans can maintain their independence.”
Public transportation is able to meet the most basic needs of America’s older individuals requiring enhanced mobility option when driving is no longer an option. Public transportation offers older Americans greater freedom to live in a variety of settings; more travel choices, leading to increased mobility; greater access to varied destinations; and enhanced opportunities to lead a full and meaningful life.
In fact, 83 percent of older Americans say that public transit provides easy access to the things they need in everyday life. Public transit is also a vital link for the more than 51 million Americans with disabilities.
Additional endorsing organizations for Older Driver Safety Awareness Week included: AAA, AARP, American Association of Motor Vehicles Administrators, Association for Driver Rehabilitation Specialists, Easter Seals Project ACTION, INTAmerica, National Association of Area Agencies on Aging, National Center on Senior Transportation and the Hartford Financial Services Group.