LITTLE ROCK – Baptist Health Rehabilitation Institute is sponsoring CarFit, a free personal driver safety event for seniors, on Nov. 8, in the Hickingbotham Outpatient parking lot located on the Baptist Health Medical Center – Little Rock campus.
Held from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m., no appointment is necessary to participate. The event will be rescheduled in the event of rain or severe weather.
This free interactive and educational program for seniors was designed through the collaboration of the American Society on Aging, AAPR, AAA and the American Occupational Therapy Association. CarFit is not a driving test or mechanical inspection.
The U.S. Census Bureau has determined that by 2030 there will be an estimated 58.9 million people age 65 and older, which equates to about one in four drivers in some communities. Driving is an activity that allows older adults to maintain their independence, which is essential for a healthy aging process.
Research suggests that older drivers are among the safest drivers because they typically wear seat belts and are less likely to speed or drink and drive. However, as people age, they're more likely to suffer serious injuries or risk death in crashes due to greater fragility. Newer vehicles have enhanced safety features to decrease the risk of injury; however, many drivers are unaware of how to properly use them. A proper fit in one's car can greatly increase not only the driver's safety but also the safety of others. CarFit helps these drivers explore vehicle adjustments and develop strategies to ensure the safest fit.
Participants will drive through designated checkup stations for a one-on-one session with a certified technician. These trained professionals will review a 12-point check list to assist drivers in adjusting their mirrors properly to decrease blind spots, determine and adjust the seating and steering wheel so that they are at the safest distance for the driver, adjust seat belts for comfort and ensure drivers know how to operate their vehicle’s controls.
The check-up should take approximately 20 minutes to complete. Afterward, an occupational therapist will demonstrate adaptive equipment such as seat cushions, seat belt extenders, key holders, swivel seats, and other devices to help increase safety and comfort while driving.
Therapists Amanda Woodall, OTR/L, and Katie Fry, DPT, are the event coordinators.
Baptist Health is the state’s most comprehensive healthcare system with more than 175 points of access, including eight hospitals. For more information about CarFit, call Baptist Health HealthLine at 1-888-BAPTIST.