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NIOSH fact sheet aimed at keeping older workers safe behind the wheel

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Washington – Drivers 55 and older face double the risk of dying in a work-related motor vehicle crash than younger workers, according to a new fact sheet from NIOSH on how employers and workers can prevent crashes involving older drivers.

Among employees 55 and older, crashes make up 32 percent of work-related fatalities. The fact sheet details age-related physical and cognitive changes – such as decreased eyesight, hearing loss and diminished cognitive abilities – that can affect an older worker’s driving. Accommodating these changes can help keep older drivers safe, NIOSH states.

Employers can implement and enforce the following safety policies:

  • Require safety belt use.
  • Address travel, such as considering if work can be accomplished without driving.
  • Prevent distracted driving by banning texting while driving.
  • Discourage drowsy driving by permitting breaks and allowing workers to get enough sleep.
  • Prohibit impaired driving.
  • Encourage safe driving by offering training and pointing out vehicle safety features.

Older workers can do the following:

  • Always wear a safety belt while driving.
  • Discuss your medication’s and medical conditions’ effects on driving with your doctor.
  • Be healthy.
  • Visit a doctor if you’re often tired.
  • Have an eye exam every one to two years.
  • Talk to your boss if you have trouble driving.

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