Drivers age 65 and older now make up 17% of all Maryland drivers. The concern for the safety and security of older drivers has increased not only in the state of Maryland but across the rest of the nation as well. The percentage of older residents in Maryland is expected to increase to 25 percent of the projected population of 6.7 million by the year 2030. With the increasing elderly population, crashes involving older drivers have fluctuated over recent years. The Motor Vehicle Administration (MVA) and the Maryland Highway Safety Office (MHSO), have teamed up to create programs made to educate older drivers, their families and caregivers and to enforce traffic laws for older driver safety as this demographic continues to increase.
The goal of these programs is to help the senior driver avoid high-risk situations and conditions, and to know what to do when encountered while driving.
Senior Driver Safety Tips
- Always wear a seat belt and make sure all passengers in all seats are belted.
- Be extra careful at intersections.
- Allow enough time when crossing traffic and pay attention to signs and signals.
- Use caution when merging onto higher speed roads and when changing lanes.
- Avoid distractions so you can make safe driving decisions.
- Use turn signals and stay alert for cars and pedestrians entering from the side.
- Always stay in your lane while driving through an intersection.
- Drive at or near the speed limit. It’s unsafe to drive too fast or too slow.
About the MHSO Older Driver Program
The MHSO Older Driver Program is supported through an active partnership with communities, and public and private organizations to develop and implement local and statewide traffic safety outreach programs that focus on senior driver education. Through this partnership, grants are provided to educate senior drivers and their caregivers on the risks associated with aging and safely operating a motor vehicle. The grants are issued through the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The goal of the grant funding is to help reduce crashes, injuries, and fatalities on Maryland’s roadways.
Senior Driver Education Courses
The driver education/refresher courses are provided at local community facilities and online. These courses provide updated information on changes in traffic laws, signs, signals, markings and offer tips for safe driving on Maryland’s roadways. Some programs offer behind-the-wheel assessments, which are helpful in identifying unsafe driving habits. Currently, these courses are offered by:
- AARP: The Smart Driver course is a classroom refresher course for older adults to bring them up to speed on changes to roads and cars, provide tips for handling key focus areas, and covers planning for alternate transportation as individuals age. Visit AARP Auto Driver Safety or call 1-800-350-7025 to find a local class or to sign up for an online class.
- AAA and the National Safety Council: Courses are offered through local offices, and some Maryland driving schools also offer classes for seniors. Visit AAA Driver Education and Training select Maryland for local driver safety resources or call 1-877-457-0711. Visit Chesapeake Region Safety Council for National Safety Council’s defensive courses held in Maryland.
Download a copy of Maryland’s Resource Guide for Aging Drivers
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