An educational driving expo Wednesday at the Jewish Community Center, 5801 W 115th St. in Overland Park, will help seniors evaluate their own driving and look at options for transportation.
A vendor fair will start at 8 a.m. and the expo runs till 1 p.m. Wednesday A free continental breakfast is available. The “Get Up and Go Older Adult Driving Expo” is free and no pre-registration is required.
The number of older drivers on the road is increasing as baby boomers age. The Federal Highway Administration reports drivers over 70 years of age are more likely to be in driving accidents.
Aging does not have to mean giving up the keys or losing freedom, said Dawn Staton, director of older adult initiatives for Jewish Family Services.
“In order for people to maintain their independence and peace of mind, it is important to be educated. Knowing what is available keeps people less isolated, less depressed, healthier and happier,” Staton said.
This is the second year for the expo, which will help seniors consider their driving retirement plan. The fair has two primary features, information about transportation services available in the area to seniors and information about adaptive technologies that can allow seniors to continue driving safely.
Many drivers may not have considered or even be aware of adaptive technologies that can help them continue to operate their own cars safely, or that ways are available to help get an objective look at driving ability, Staton said.
Among the vendors at the expo are senior driving services and other transportation options.
Annette Maggard Lewer from the Rehabilitation Institute of Kansas City and Kristin Nichols with the Shawnee Mission Health Driving Program will offer the keynote address at 9:45 a.m. They will discuss how seniors can stay driving on safely on the road. Both women work to teach senior adults safer driving techniques. They will also explain how adaptive technologies for cars, like elongated mirrors or padded cushions, can help meet seniors’ driving needs. A technology enhanced car will be available for seniors to see.
The expo will feature information about safe driving assessments. The goal of the assessment is to offer an objective viewpoint on whether or not a senior is still safe on the road. That objective viewpoint can be important for families, Staton said.
“A lot of people can still drive. I think a lot of people give it up when they think they should not be driving. The assessments can give tips to help people stay on the road safely longer,” Staton said.