KEYS Grant Renewed – CHP Offering Classes for Older Drivers

The KEYS Grant – Keeping Everyone Safe

The California Highway Patrol (CHP) recently issued a press release describing its determination to assist motorists aged 65 and older in keeping their driver’s license and driving independence. This goal will be pursued through the financial support of a renewed annual federal program called the KEYS Grant. The acronym stands for Keeping Everyone Safe and is in its thirteenth iteration. Through federal funding from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the CHP will keep offering in-person and virtual traffic safety programs that emphasize mobility combined with road safety for senior drivers throughout the state of California.

Educational Classes for Older Drivers

The educational programs funded by the grant are known as Age Well, Drive Smart classes. They are designed to assist seniors with refreshing their knowledge and understanding of road rules and enhancing their driving skills. Instruction material will also go over the normal physical changes that come with age and how they can alter one’s driving abilities. Since these classes began in 2015, the CHP has led more than 1,800 senior driver safety classes and presentations and has reached upwards of 100,000 California drivers.

California’s Highway Patrol Commissioner believes these programs funded by the KEYS grant will save lives by helping older drivers travel safer. 

How to Take a Class for Older Drivers

The CHP classes are free. Older drivers throughout the state are invited to attend the two-hour Age Well, Drive Smart classes that hope to help seniors drive longer and drive safer. Classes are offered at local area CHP offices and through regional community centers. The classes are an effective way for older drivers to evaluate their own driving abilities, get educated, and make improvements to their driving skills.

If you are interested in attending a class virtually or in person, contact your local area CHP office to learn what dates and times are available.

Watch the YouTube video. The clip below, posted by CNET, offers the perspective that in general, older drivers may actually be safer drivers.

Physical Changes as We Age

There are myriad physical changes that occur as we get older, and some of them have a direct impact on our ability to drive. Examples of those changes are outlined below.

  • Stiff muscles and joints. Noticing muscle stiffness or weakness is a common complaint in older adults. Arthritis is also very common. Such changes can affect your ability to turn your head to the side to check for clearance, to brake safely, or to quickly turn the steering wheel. 
  • Vison issues. Some people are affected by changing eyesight as they get older. This may especially manifest itself at night. Keeping up with an annual eye exam can help to get these issues corrected.
  • Hearing issues. Diminished hearing can affect our ability to notice emergency sirens, car horns, and even alarming noises from our own vehicles.
  • Slower reflexes and reaction times. As we age, we may not react as quickly as we once could. Sometimes one’s attention span or ability to multi-task is also affected. Such things can be adjusted for by keeping more space between your vehicle and others, braking early, and avoiding heaving traffic times when possible.
  • Effects from medications. Many common medications have side effects that can make it unsafe to drive. Pay attention to how the medications you take affect your cognition or sense of alertness.  Always read medicine labels for any warning about driving, and do not drive if you feel impaired, drowsy, or lightheaded.

Oroville Personal Injury Lawyer

Hello – thanks for reading our report on the renewed KEYS grant. I’m Ed Smith, an Oroville personal injury lawyer. For decades, the skilled injury attorneys at our firm have been advocates for residents of Oroville in their personal injury and wrongful death matters. For free and friendly advice following a car crash, call us at (530) 392-9400 or (800) 404-5400.

Photo by: Mihai Moisa via Unsplash

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