January 04, 2011

News Release

For Immediate Release

October 2010 Crash Report Card

The Springfield Public Works Department's October 2010 Crash Report Card shows there have been 14 fatal crashes (resulting in 16 total fatalities) from January 1 through October 31 of 2010, compared to six fatal crashes (resulting in six total fatalities) in the same period in 2009. The number of injury crashes has decreased by 1 percent and total number of crashes thus far in 2010 is 2 percent lower compared to the same period in 2009.

January Safety Message

This month's safety message is dedicated to the topic of "Senior Driving." In Missouri, the State Highway Safety Office requires citizens 70 years of age and older to renew their driver's license every 3 years, rather than the regular cycle of 6 years. Missouri senior drivers are currently required to take a vision and road-sign test, but typically no driving evaluation.

According to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA), in 2008, older people accounted for 15 percent of all traffic fatalities and 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. This high percentage is mainly due to the fact that seniors tend to suffer more severe injuries and recovery is typically more complicated than for younger drivers. However, studies show that the elderly are a considerably higher risk to cause crashes as they face physical challenges such as slower reaction times, vision and hearing problems, decreased ability to focus or to make certain moves, and possibly nervousness or anxiety. Yet, driving often gives members of this group independence to accomplish everyday tasks without having to rely on others.

In Springfield, three senior citizens died due to crashes caused by age-related issues in 2009. In 2010, at least three people older than 65 years of age died in traffic crashes, two of which were pedestrians.

The senior population will almost double by 2020 due to the aging baby boomer generation and the average increase of life expectancy. Different agencies are working on addressing older driver safety and mobility through different programs. MoDOT, NHTSA, and the American Society on Aging offer programs such as "Drivewell," "CarFit," and "Roadwise Review," as well as law enforcement and medical programs geared not only toward elderly drivers but also their families and public service employees.

The NHTSA has very user-friendly resources on how to "fit" vehicles to individual seniors' needs, how to assess one's driving ability, and ideas for families regarding how to tactfully restrict a senior's driving.

More information can be found online at:
www.nhtsa.gov/Senior-Drivers
www.modot.mo.gov/safety/documents/FlyerofSummary.pdf (PDF)

For more information, contact: Mandy Büttgen, Public Works - Traffic Engineering, (417) 864 1980.

city of springfield

Department of Public Works

840 Boonville Avenue • P.O. Box 8368 • Springfield, MO 65801
417-864-1900 • springfieldmo.gov