Studies have shown that older drivers have high rates of accidents, injuries, and fatalities on a per-mile-driven basis. Driving, however, is very important to many older adults because it is a critical factor in enabling them to maintain an independent lifestyle. In 1989, the Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) enacted a High-Priority National Program Area entitled, "Improved Highway Travel for an Aging Population." This human factors research program was designed to analyze highway design standards to determine if they accommodate the needs and capabilities of older drivers. Human factors research is used to assess age-related declines in abilities that are critical to the driving task and to develop and test highway engineering enhancements that improve highway safety for everyone, especially older drivers. As a result, the FHWA has published the Older Driver Highway Design Handbook and developed a companion workshop to be presented to FHWA division offices, state departments of transportation, and local officials. In doing so, the program is reaching out to practicing traffic engineers and highway designers to provide them with the knowledge of the wide variety of countermeasures that can be implemented to better meet the needs of older road users. While the guidelines are specifically geared toward improving the safety and mobility of older drivers, the benefits of these changes will be experienced by the entire driving public.


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Filing Info

  • Accession Number: 00765034
  • Record Type: Publication
  • Files: TRIS, USDOT
  • Created Date: Jun 15 1999 12:00AM