CarFit program planned in NYA

Carver County and the City of Norwood Young America are partnering on a project to increase safety for older drivers. Norwood Young America’s second CarFit event will be held in Norwood Young America on Thursday, Sept 13. Reservations are required for the event. See below for how to reserve a spot.

CarFit is a national program developed through collaboration among the American Society on Aging, AARP, American Occupational Therapy Association and AAA. The program event is designed to provide a quick but comprehensive check of how well the driver and their vehicle work together.

At the event, a trained technician will ask simple questions and complete a 12-point CarFit checklist with each participant, which takes about 20 minutes. Trained technicians will provide education to the drivers. They will ensure the driver is 10 inches away from the steering wheel in order to reduce the risk of airbag injury. They will check to make sure the driver’s line of vision is three inches above the steering wheel and their legs are two inches below it. They will encourage drivers to make simple changes — such as adjusting mirrors to limit blind spots — that can make a big difference in safety.

CarFit technicians will also demonstrate a variety of gadgets to assist individuals in getting in and out of the car, turning the key in the ignition, and reaching for the seatbelt more easily.

“Making this CarFit event available to Norwood Young America residents is one way we can keep older adults driving safely as long as possible,” said Carver County Office of Aging Planner Katy Boone. “This is particularly important in rural areas of the county where a public transit system is not readily available.”

Increasing the safety of older drivers is also important because they tend to be more vulnerable from an accident standpoint. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a crash that results in nonfatal injuries to a younger person may result in the death of an older adult driver or passenger. As people age, their bodies become more fragile. The result is older adult drivers and passengers are injured in accidents in disproportionately higher rates.

The number of older drivers is also a concern. People over 65 are the fastest-growing population segment in the U.S. By 2030, one in five drivers will be age 65 or older, which means there will be more than 30 million older drivers on U.S. roads. Carver County will be no exception, with an estimated 25,000 residents over 65 in 2030.
To make a reservation for an older driver at the CarFit event in Norwood Young America, call Community Education at (952) 467-7390. Appointments will be taken from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m.

The event will be held at the city maintenance garage located west of the new Oak Grove City Center, at 123 Reform Street. Refreshments will be served at the Oak Grove Senior Residence. The Norwood Young America Senior Advisory Committee is hosting this event.