The 21st century has brought a lot of new technologies to the automotive industry. Most are designed to keep drivers safer on the roads. But can these enhanced features allow senior citizens to retain their driving privileges longer?
A survey conducted by the Hartford and MIT AgeLab found that older drivers have embraced these new technologies but are afraid to rely on them too much. Researchers asked over 300 drivers between the ages of 50 and 69 which new features they'd be willing to use in their vehicles. Most mature drivers answered that they were most willing to try features designed to prevent accidents.
Reverse backup cameras, blind spot monitoring systems, lane-departure warnings and "smart" headlights all made the cut. Yet, 40 percent were concerned they might get too dependent on technologies that help them parallel park. Another 25 percent felt the same way about driving cars equipped with adaptive cruise control. However, three-quarters of those surveyed showed interest in self-driving automobiles. But only 31 percent stated their willingness to purchase one even if the costs were competitive to other models.
The goal of the study, according to The Hartford Center for Mature Market Excellence's executive director and lead gerontologist, is to "help older drivers stay on the road safely for as long as possible."
Age-related changes restrict senior citizens in many ways. Having to turn in the keys to the car limits most seniors' mobility and abilities to live on their own in their communities. Improving automotive safety with new technologies may allow seniors to extend their driving years in some cases.
But even technology designed to keep motorists safer on the road can't prevent every accident. If you were injured in an accident with a senior driver, you may need to take action and file a claim for damages.