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Seen At 11: Older Drivers And The Danger Ahead

Some Say An Older Working Population Has Made Driving More Dangerous

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NEW YORK(CBSNewYork) — The risks that New Yorkers take on the roads are getting worse every day, and some say that the hazardous conditions can be blamed on the economy.

Driving has always carried the possibility of danger but experts say that the roads are more dangerous now than ever before, CBS 2′s Maurice Dubois reported.

One of the biggest threats on the road today is older drivers.

“People age. We’re not as good drivers as we were when we were young,” Automobile Club of America’s Robert Sinclair explained, “With the baby boom generation now greying and unfortunately it seems, not a lot of them ready monetarily for retirement, they have to keep working.”

New research from the Centers for Disease Control showed that workers 65 and older have been responsible for an increase in highway accidents with a fatality rate that is three times that of their younger counterparts.

The effects of aging may play a role in that increase.

“Without a doubt, your eyesight fails, your cognitive ability fades, you become less agile,” Sinclair said.

Patty Grosskopf, 66, is one of nearly 20-percent of Americans who has postponed their retirement.

“It definitely has crossed my mind. My reflexes aren’t as sharp anymore,” Grosskopf said, “Hurricane Sandy destroyed my home. That changed my future plans and as a result I’ll be working longer.”

Critics have suggested that employers should help older workers by offering flexible work schedules and encouraging options like video conferencing.

“The employer has a responsibility,” Stephanie Pratt said.

Pratt is the coordinator of the CDC’s Center for Motor Vehicle Safety. She told CBS 2′s Dubois that it is possible to improve senior safety on the road.

AAA of New York offers senior driving refresher courses that can help to improve safety on area roadways.

“Our traffic safety instructors go over the vehicle with a senior,” Sinclair explained.

The programs are helpful but experts caution that accidents will still occur.

“It’s going to be a problem that increases markedly as time goes by,” Sinclair said.

Drivers who want to evaluate their skills can do so during anĀ  interactive, online, driving evaluation.

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