Americans for Older Driver Safety gets grant to develop education programs

IMMEDIATE RELEASE Media Contact: Heather Ford, 410-598-8256, hford@afods.org

LOCAL ORGANIZATION RECEIVES GRANT TO DEVELOP EDUCATIONAL PROGRAM FOR OLDER DRIVERS

Celebrate Older Driver Safety Awareness Week December 2-7, 2013

LEAWOOD, KANSAS (December 2, 2013) --- Americans for Older Driver Safety (AFODS), a national organization located in Kansas, was awarded a Gould Charitable Foundation grant to create an educational program for older drivers designed to raise awareness of the impact of aging on mobility, the need to adjust driving habits to maintain safety, and the need to plan for future transportation needs. “I am delighted to kickoff Older Driver Safety Awareness Week by announcing this grant,” said Susan Cohen, co-founder of AFODS. “We look forward to working closely with local organizations in the Kansas City metropolitan area to make the roads safer for everyone.”

AFODS will develop and implement a curriculum for older drivers on the consequences of aging and health on mobility, the importance of changing driving habits to maintain safety, and the value of planning for the future. The objective is to assist aging drivers in recognizing physical and/or cognitive issues that may diminish their driving abilities and equip them with information needed to address changes as they occur and make an informed decision about when is the right time to limit or stop driving.

Among other things, the AFODS program will provide research-based safety tips like avoiding left turns at intersections, which put older drivers at higher risk of crashes. The program will demonstrate special equipment/devices for cars that enhance safety, like larger mirrors, back up cameras and adjustments to cars that can provide a better fit for the older driver. The program will also focus on how medical conditions and medication affect driving ability and can even cause impaired driving performance. The program will teach older adults to create a personal plan to stop driving and advise them on Kansas City area public transportation and other mobility options for aging adults. AFODS will partner with local resources to get current information about the services they provide to older adults. Written information will be provided on local resources for driver education, evaluation, rehabilitation, special equipment and local alternative transportation sources.

The program will educate older drivers to consider future mobility options when making housing changes. The program will include a review of recent traffic law changes including requirements to share the road with bicycles and motorcycles, move over laws for emergency vehicles in the shoulder, work zone laws, etc.

About Americans for Older Driver Safety: The mission of Americans for Older Driver Safety is to advocate for safer roads through driver education, assessment, retraining and transitioning; and to raise public awareness of the safety risks related to unmonitored changes in driver abilities. AFODS advocates for safer roads for older drivers and all Americans. Susan Cohen and Mitchell Krasnopoler founded Americans for Older Driver Safety in 2012 following the 2011 death of their 20- year-old son, Nathan. An 83-year old driver making a right turn crossed into the bicycle lane where Nathan was riding resulting in the fatal crash that took his life.

About the Gould Charitable Foundation: The Gould Charitable Foundation (formerly the Gould Family Foundation) is a philanthropic trust created as a memorial to the late Robert L. Gould. Our mission is to assist organizations in improving the communities where Mr. Gould lived and worked -- the greater metropolitan areas of Boston and Kansas City, by making grants to fund projects at 501(c)(3) charitable organizations whose vision and goals align with our areas of interest.

About Older Driver Safety Awareness Week: It is a fact of life that people grow older everyday. With increasing age come changes in physical, mental and sensory abilities that can challenge a person's continued ability to drive safely. But there are a variety of safe travel options for people of all ages. The real need is a broader awareness of the solutions, rather than a narrow focus on the problem. The American Occupational Therapy Association Older Driver Safety Awareness Week (December 2–7, 2013) aims to promote understanding of the importance of mobility and transportation to ensuring older adults remain active in the community—shopping, working or volunteering—with the confidence that transportation will not be the barrier to strand them at home.

For more information on older driver safety contact Susan Cohen at 443-520-9716 or Mitchell Krasnopoler at 913-967-9069 or email info@afods.org.

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