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AARP, ATSSA Endorse Older Driver Safety Bill

For Immediate Release

July 28, 2009

Laura Dennis (ATSSA)

AARP Media Relations 202-434-2560

AARP, ATSSA Endorse Older Driver Safety Bill Applaud Rep. Altmire for Sponsoring It

Washington, DC. – AARP and the American Traffic Safety Services Association (ATSSA) strongly endorse H.R. 3355, the Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act of 2009 introduced yesterday by Rep. Jason Altmire (D-Penn.)

“It is estimated that by 2025, one in four drivers will be 65 or older,” U.S. Congressman Jason Altmire (PA-04) said. “Given this fact, we need to make sure we are taking older drivers’ needs into account in our transportation planning. By making improvements that will make roadway hazards more visible and signs easier to read, we can make our roads safer for drivers of all ages.”

David Certner, AARP’s Legislative Policy Director, applauded both the new bill and Rep. Altmire’s leadership. “Congressman Altmire deserves credit not only for introducing this bill,” he said, “but also for having the foresight to recognize that making roads safer for older drivers will make them safer for everyone. Older drivers and teen drivers, their passengers and those who care about them will benefit from investing in safer roads that meet improved standards. As Congress considers updating America’s transportation system, we urge them to also choose to put people and their safety first.”

A recent report from AARP’s Public Policy Institute found that two-thirds of transportation planners and engineers have yet to begin addressing the needs of older Americans in their street planning; yet by 2025, 64 million people will be over the age of 65 and by 2030 a quarter of all U.S. drivers will be over the age of 65.

“This bill will lead America in the right direction when it comes to making driving on our roadways safer for all individuals, including older Americans and pedestrians,” said ATSSA President and CEO Roger Wentz. “As a Representative from Pennsylvania where the older driver population is above the national average, Rep. Altmire fully understands the critical need to ensure that drivers over 65 years old are as safe as possible on the road.”

Most older Americans live in suburbs with limited or no access to public transportation. That percentage will only grow as the Boomer generation reaches traditional retirement age. “As they get older, the first generation raised in the suburbs will still have to rely on their personal automobiles, or those of family and friends, to get around. Roads designed and built to reduce the risk of crashes will make them and everyone safer,” said Certner.

The Older Driver and Pedestrian Safety and Roadway Enhancement Act of 2009 will:

* Invest $500 million annually in roadway safety infrastructure to meet improved federal highway design handbook standards for older drivers and pedestrians, effectively making roadways across the nation safer for all Americans.

* Create a position of Special Assistant for Older Adult Safety and Mobility in the Office of the Secretary of Transportation to contribute an age related focus to DOT activities and programs related to transportation safety, research and services.

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