Senior citizens number over 4 million in Florida and that number is predicted to grow to 6 million over the next decade. WTSP reported at least one federal study shows car accidents are the leading cause of injury-related deaths for seniors between 65 and 74.
In light of this new information, the Ford Motor Company and the state government have partnered to address concerns facing Florida’s older car drivers. On June 27, Ford executives met with state police and other experts to discuss how to help senior drivers.
The company also showed off a suit it designed to simulate what it is like to be an elderly driver. The various pieces of the suit limit mobility and range of motion, which along with impaired vision and loss of hearing are shown to be reasons for increased car crash rates among seniors.
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Design changes meant to help older drivers are being touted as safety changes to benefit everyone. Ford is investigating ways to make it easier to respond to traffic, see out the rear-view mirror, and to alert drivers to roadway obstacles. The “Blind Spot Information System” already uses radar to identify vehicles in blind spots and the “Cross-Traffic Alert System” uses radar to show vehicles within 45 feet of a car as it backs up. You are warned about other cars in three ways: a light in your side view mirror, an alert is sounded and a warning message appears.
The other improvement Ford recently introduced to improve safety is the inflatable seat belt. These belts spread the force of an auto accident across the wearer’s chest, reducing pressure and whiplash. Any car accident attorney knows that with more fragile skeletons, children and elderly passengers are more vulnerable to seat belt caused injuries.