The Iowa Department of Transportation turned to a television icon Wednesday to talk safety to older drivers. Art Linkletter was one of the pioneers in television, who at one time had a program running on all three TV networks.
He visited Des Moines to give a talk to about 200 senior Iowans as part of a new focus by the D-O-T on improving the safety of older drivers. Linkletter says driving is an important part of a person’s independence — but he says those in their 60’s and beyond need to recognize their limitations. He says they need to think carefully about the impact on their driving of the loss of vision, judgment and other things as they age.
Linkletter says change is tough for older people, but he hopes a look at the statistics will help them change.He says the dangers are at age fifteen on one end, and 75 on the other when it comes to recklessness and inability in driving. Linkletter says older drivers do have some pluses as they have fewer alcohol related fatalities.The energetic Linkletter, best known for his show “Kids Say the Darnd’est Things” will turn 90 in July. He still drives and stays in good health by keeping busy and living his life with a purpose.
Iowa D-O-T Safety Management Systems Manager Tom Welch says Linkletter’s appearance is part of a new campaign. They’ll focus on improving safety among older drivers, which he says will help all drivers. He says more and more drivers are moving into the “older” category.He says there are counties in Iowa where over 25-percent of their drivers are over 65.
He says the state is looking at ways to make those drivers safer by helping them realize their limitations. Welch says there’s also some things the state can do like putting in more turning lanes and green turning arrows, and also issue restricted licenses that let older Iowans drive just around their hometowns. D-O-T statistics show 20-percent of all traffic deaths in the state involve older Iowans, and between 350 to 400 older Iowans are injured every year in auto accidents.