October 31, 2012
Contact: Megan Sanborn
(207) 626-8405

Keeping the Oldest State in the Nation Safe Behind the Wheel

Secretary of State Charles E. Summers, Jr. and AAA Northern New England to Host AAA Senior Driving Summit

AUGUSTA- Secretary of State Charlie Summers and AAA Northern New England have worked together to host the Senior Driving Summit on Friday November 2nd at the Augusta Amory. The workshop will be held from 8:30am-3:00pm with expert National speakers covering an array of topics as they relate to the challenge of older driver safety and mobility.

The summit is an opportunity for health care professionals, legislators, law enforcement and other traffic safety professionals to convene and discuss the challenges of senior driving safety and mobility. Expert speakers from around the nation will lead interactive sessions on a number of key topics including the extent and impact of senior driver safety, current research and recommended best practices. After hearing from some of the Nation’s leading experts on senior driving safety and mobility, local experts will have the opportunity to weigh in and comment a panel discussion.  The Maine Auto Dealers Association will be bringing in vehicles as well as sponsoring lunch for attendees, other sponsors include the Maine Transportation Safety Coalition and Maine Bureau of Highway Safety. 

According to the U.S. Census, the population age 65 and older will grow faster than the total population in every single state beginning this year.  With Maine being the “oldest” state in the Nation, with a median age of 42, the proportion of the population over 65 is expected to rise from 15% to 26% by 2030. Experts estimate that by 2030, one in five Americans will be age 65 or older-and most will still be driving.

The demographic bulge known as the baby boomers will affect senior driving as it has other phenomenon.  If current rates at which people of various ages drive and have crashes do not change, in the next twenty years the proportion of Maine crashes due to drivers over 65 will almost double simply as a result of the population aging.  Indeed, it is likely that the numbers will be even higher because a larger proportion of this group is expected to continue to drive.

?The ongoing partnership that the Secretary of State?s Office has with AAA Northern New England continues to benefit Maine people by identifying solutions and promoting best practices. I think it is critically important to help assist seniors in maintaining their independence in such a rural state. I want to ensure that Maine people are able to continue driving as long as it?s safely possible,? said Secretary Summers.