CarFit is a community-based educational program that promotes continued safe driving and mobility among older drivers by focusing attention on safety, comfort, and fit. CarFit was created in 2006 in collaboration with AAA (American Automobile Association), AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA).
The program is designed to help older drivers find out how well they currently fit their personal vehicle, to highlight actions they can take to improve their fit, and to promote conversations about driver safety and community mobility. A proper fit in one’s personal vehicle can greatly increase not only the driver’s safety, but also the safety of others.
Three quick examples underscore the importance of road safety according to the CarFit program, by reviewing twelve key areas of the driver’s fit to the personal vehicle.
Example One: Knowing how to properly adjust one’s mirrors can greatly minimize blind spots for drivers who may wish to change lanes.
Example Two: Good foot positioning on the gas and brake pedals is important. If the driver is reaching with their toes to press on the pedals, it can cause fatigue in one’s leg and slowed reaction times.
Example Three: Drivers run a risk of serious injury if they are sitting closer than 10 inches to the steering wheel.
CarFit was pilot tested in 10 cities in the Spring of 2005 with more than 300 older driver participants. Based on findings from the CarFit checklists completed at the events and follow-up surveys of participants, the program appears to be highly effective on multiple fronts. Some of the results showed:
…over one-third (37%) had at least one critical safety issue needing addressed
…one in ten (10%) were seated too close to the steering wheel
…approximately 20% did not have a line of sight at least 3″ over the steering wheel
In addition, the vast majority of those responding to the survey indicated that as a result of having gone through the CarFit event, they made a change to improve the fit of their vehicle, their use of safety features in their vehicle and/or their willingness to discuss their driving with family and/or health care providers.
CarFit is a program whose success depends on volunteers across the country. There are two ways one can become involved in CarFit as an Event Coordinator or Instructor. For more information, refer to their website at https://www.car-fit.org
Clinical Operations Specialist