On August 15 the well-known American Automobile Association better known as “AAA” released a study that has created much buzz and controversy among those of age 65 and over. Owner and founder of Univista Insurance Ivan Herrera who advocates for drivers of age 65 and over in South Florida can count on Univista Insurance after being outraged at the recent study published by AAA. According to the study done by AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety’s Longitudinal Research on Aging Drivers (LONGROAD) project and dated August 14th, nearly 83 percent of older drivers have never spoken to a doctor or a family member about their ability to drive safely and the effect an advance age may or may not have on driving. While about 15 percent have communicated their concern it has only happened after an accident or traffic infraction has already occurred.
Using 2016 as a benchmark we can see the breakdown of people involved in accidents by age group. While those over 65 account for a smaller percentage than those in an age group from 16 to 30 their propensity to receive an injury from an accident as well as a fatality is increased. In that same year 200,000 drivers over 65 were injured in traffic accidents and of those more than 3,500 were killed. This is one of the largest groups, with those in the 80 and over column being at greatest risk. This greater risk is being attributed to a greater fragility at an advance age.
According to Dr. David Yang, executive director of the AAA Foundation of Traffic Safety, “The right time to stop driving varies for everyone” he also went on to say “This research shows that older drivers can be hesitant to initiate conversations about their driving capabilities, so it is important that families encourage them to talk early and often about their future behind the wheel. With early discussions and proper planning about driving, elderly drivers may extend their time on the road”
In an interview directed by Javier Romero of Univision Radio, Ivan Herrera of Univista Insurance was asked to comment on how this report and the subsequent comments from many to revoke the licenses of those of this age group is being received in our South Florida community and what his perspective was from the insurance side of the issue. He was quick to state that this was just one independent report and one which was not a law nor was in the process of becoming one. He feels that this is very disrespectful to the seniors of our community which he states are very good drivers and have done and continue to do much for South Florida. This is a generation that he greatly respects and admires.
Univista Insurance is one of the largest automobile insurers in South Florida and encourages anyone over 65 to call them to discuss their insurance needs as well as the opportunity to save considerably on their coverage.
Given all of the data and opinions we feel advocating for a revocation of driving privileges of an entire age group is drastic and unnecessary. It is however important to maintain the lines of communication open as well as maintain vigilance and observance of all drivers not just those over 65. If at any moment an issue is observed and you feel there may be an problem approach it with a sense of respect and dignity for the driver in question is critical just keep in mind that it can be you worried about your own driving privileges being revoked unjustly someday.
Jesus D. Rodriguez
Calle Ocho News Journalist