As I’ve mentioned many times before in this blog, safety is DOT’s number one priority. That’s why I was glad to be given the opportunity to speak to the AARP Driver Safety Program National Leadership Conference yesterday about ways that DOT and AARP can continue to work together to ensure that all Americans are safe and secure when using America’s roads, bridges, and public transportations systems.
AARP knows a thing or two about safety. Its Driver Safety Program provides classroom and online courses to help seasoned drivers stay abreast with changes in vehicle technology, changes in road rules, and changes in driving conditions. And, yes, the program does offer tips on how to adapt to the inevitable vison changes that go hand in hand with age.
AARP also offers “We Need to Talk,” an important resource to help families and caregivers fairly and sensitively discuss when it might be time to stop driving.
At DOT, we’re listening to organizations like AARP about how we can be most helpful in improving the transportation their members use every day. For example, AARP is already working with us to develop a culture of personal responsibility among drivers. DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration is working with AARP to make sure its members’ voices are heard on issues like driver licensing and law enforcement. And the Federal Highway Administration is working with AARP on roadway design.
DOT is working to increase pedestrian and public transportation options. And this benefits everyone, from senior citizens using wheelchairs, to parents pushing strollers down the sidewalk, to kids riding their bikes. Livable communities are crucial to ensuring that folks can visit with friends or access social services and medical care. In short, they allow people to keep their independence and mobility as they get older.
Working together, DOT and AARP have made good progress toward improving America’s transportation options, but there is still plenty more work ahead of us. And I look forward to continuing DOT’s partnership with AARP to ensure safe and effective transportation for seniors, and for all Americans.