Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

February 23, 2009 11:05 ET

New Infrastructure Will Reduce Senior Drivers' Collisions: CAA

OTTAWA, ONTARIO--(Marketwire - Feb. 23, 2009) - A new report from the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA) reveals that new infrastructure improvements could reduce the number of automobile collisions involving senior drivers.

"Senior drivers have the second-highest crash rate amongst Canadian motorists," says Tim Shearman, president of CAA. "In 10 years, senior drivers will soon represent one in four Canadians motorists, so there is a need to prepare our roads for this growing demographic now."

Shearman points out there is a large body of scientific research that shows why senior drivers crash and what can be done to cut down on such collisions. Among one of the most important solutions is new and upgraded infrastructure.

"Some basic infrastructure upgrades could go a long way to reducing collisions involving senior drivers," says Shearman. "Some of the necessary upgrades include improvements to intersections, signs, and road delineation."

With regards to intersections, senior drivers have a decreased field of view, which makes it harder for them to judge gaps in oncoming traffic while turning; so dedicated turning lanes and dedicated turn signals can help to remove this guesswork. Other intersection upgrades include better paint markings, better sight lines, and making sure turning lanes line up with the opposing turning lanes across the intersection.

As for signage and delineation improvements, the report recommends using brighter red lights, larger signs with larger clearer writing, brighter and more reflective yellow centre lines, and adding more signs advising drivers of pending actions, such as exits or turns. Another key recommendation was to boost the length of merging lanes on highways.

"None of the infrastructure changes that we are suggesting require re-inventing the wheel," says Shearman. "These are well-researched, simple upgrades that have a positive safety impact on senior drivers, while simultaneously making our roads safer for everyone."

Moving forward, Shearman believes that the current federal budget's infrastructure provisions provide an excellent opportunity to fund safety improvements for our roads. Shearman is also interested in seeing more funds allocated specifically for road safety.

"One of the things we currently lack in Canada is a road safety investment target," says Shearman. "The World Bank recommends that 10 per cent of investment in roadways should be targeted towards road safety and we would like to see the Canadian government establish a target as well."

About the report:

Senior Drivers and Highway Design is a new report from CAA that examines the causes of senior drivers' collisions and possible infrastructure-based solutions that can be used to address these collisions. The report includes an extensive literature review summary as well as a summary of interviews with key traffic safety stakeholders. The report was authored and prepared for the CAA by leading research experts at Human Factors North, a consulting firm. The report and executive summary can be downloaded at:

About the Canadian Automobile Association (CAA)

CAA is a federation of 9 automobile clubs serving 5.3 million members through 148 offices across Canada. CAA provides a wide range of member services and works to improve travelling and motoring conditions at home and around the world, including national advocacy efforts on both traffic safety and public policy issues that affect Canadian motorists.

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