British Columbians Anxious About the Safety of Senior Drivers

Despite concerns, most residents are struggling to have tough conversations with the senior drivers in their lives.

Burnaby, BC – With the BC Stats agency projecting the number of seniors to rise by nearly 30 per cent over the next few decades, the British Columbia Automobile Association’s (BCAA) new Senior Driver Survey shows that British Columbians are worried about the safety of senior drivers in their lives and struggling to have those challenging conversations. To help, BCAA introduces its Senior Driver Toolkit, an online resource to keep senior drivers safe on the road.

The survey, conducted recently by Insights West, reveals that 72 per cent of British Columbians are concerned about the safety of senior drivers. Most alarmingly, many respondents, who have a senior driver in their lives, feel anxious whenever their loved one gets behind the wheel (32%) and feel powerless about how to keep their aging driver safe on the road (38%).

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“People are worried each time their aging loved one gets into the car to drive but, they don’t know what to do,” says Mark Donnelly, BCAA director of Communication and Community Impact. “The good news is that everyone cares about road safety. They just don’t know how to begin the conversation. This is an important issue and will become even more important as more drivers age in this province. BCAA wants to help.”

While most British Columbians (69%) feel road safety would improve if families and their senior driver discussed safe driving, 63 per cent have not talked to an aging family member about their driving. Nearly half of those respondents (41%) don’t know how to approach their loved one to have that conversation.

BCAA’s new web tool, located at bcaa.com/seniordrivers, is easy for anyone to use. The website incorporates information from the Canadian Medical Association’s Driver’s Guide and Canadian Association of Occupational Therapists. The toolkit provides families with advice, a conversation guide and a video that helps them in their discussions. The web tool provides senior drivers with easy to follow assessment tools which will show areas of improvement, interactive infographics that help users understand the common physical changes that affect driving, and videos with tips on how to manage challenging driving conditions.

Additional survey results

  • 94% of senior drivers have taken at least one step to adjust their driving habits to stay safe including, no longer driving at night, avoiding high traffic hours and getting regular eye and hearing exams.
  • 71% of British Columbians, including senior drivers, say more education on road safety for aging drivers is needed.
  • 42% of respondents who have a senior driver in their lives say they don’t have enough information to know whether or not their aging loved one is able to drive safely.
  • 38% admit they don’t know what signs to look out for that may indicate the mature driver in their life is having trouble driving safely.
  • 54% of senior drivers indicate they’re concerned about the safety of drivers in their age group.
  • 10% of senior drivers talked to a loved one about their driving safety.
  • 5% of senior drivers have discussed ways to change their driving habits with their doctor or family member.
  • 87% of senior drivers are open to getting information and advice on how to drive safely.

 

About the survey

BCAA’s Mature Driver Survey was conducted by Insights West. Results are based on an online study conducted from March 25-27, 2014, among 801 British Columbians who are aged 18+ and are Your Insights panel members. The survey included those with senior drivers in their lives as well as senior drivers themselves. YourInsights.ca is Insights West’s in-house access panel offering on-demand samples for both clients and research suppliers looking for Western Canadian populations. The data has been statistically weighted according to Canadian census figures for age and gender. While statistical margins of error are arguably not applicable to online panels/online studies of this nature, we have assumed that the same margins of error apply as if it were a true unweighted random probability sample with a margin of error of +/- 3.5 percentage points, nineteen times out of twenty.

About BCAA

BCAA is one of the most trusted organizations in British Columbia, serving one in four B.C. households. With over 816,000 Members, BCAA provides an array of home, auto and travel insurance services, and is renowned for its legendary roadside assistance. J.D. Power has ranked BCAA “Highest In Customer Satisfaction among Home Insurance Providers in Western Canada” two years in a row (2012 and 2013) – details at jdpower.com. Now in its 108th year, BCAA has over $460 million in annual sales, 27 locations and over 900 employees. To learn more about BCAA’s Community Impact Programs and the other benefits of BCAA Membership, visit bcaa.com.

 

For further information, or to request an interview, please contact:

Nièla Melanio
BCAA Communication Specialist
Office: 604-268-5342
Cell: 778-228-8859
Email: niela.melanio@bcaa.com

Mario Canseco
Vice President, Public Affairs, Insights West
Cell: 778-929-0490
Email: mariocanseco@insightswest.com

 
 
Photograph: Jeremy Bronson