What is CarFit?
CarFit is available in Allegany County to offer area senior drivers a free opportunity to check how their cars âfitâ them.
Developed by AAA, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA) partnership, CarFitâs trained professionals take older drivers through a 12-point checklist with their vehicle, recommending minor adjustments that help make their cars âfitâ better for comfort and safety. An occupational therapist is also on hand to provide information to seniors on how to maintain and strengthen driving health.
Why is CarFit Important?
By 2030, there will be an estimated 58.9 million people age 65 and older -that's 1 in 5 people. They're expected to represent 1 in 4 licensed drivers at that time. Personal mobility is critical for healthy aging, but as our bodies change as we age, ill-fitting vehicles can make it uncomfortable and unsafe to drive. Additionally, due to fragility, older drivers have the highest crash death rate per mile of everyone except teenagers. CarFit is a tool that can work to help keep seniors safer behind the wheel.
What is the goal a CarFit?
The goals of the community-based program are three fold:
- Help older drivers improve the âfitâ of their vehicles for safety and comfort.
- Promote conversations among older adults and families about driving safety and the continued need for mobility options to keep people participating in the life of their communities.
- Link adults with relevant, local resources that can help ensure they drive safely longer.
What will I learn from participating?
CarFit uses a trained team, including occupational therapy practitioners, to assist older drivers with items such as:
- a clear line of sight over the steering wheel;
- adequate space between the front air bag/steering wheel and the driverâs breastbone; properly adjusted head restraints;
- proper positioning on gas and brake pedals;
- proper seat belt use and fit, and safe positioning of mirrors to minimize blind spots.
The 20 minute intervention not only provides an opportunity to open a positive, non-threatening conversation about driver to vehicle fit, but it also provides specific community resources to help older drivers stay healthy and continue to drive for as long as safely possible.