Demographic estimates show that in 2015 one fifth and in 2030 one quarter of the population in Finland will be over 65 years old. With regard to elderly people one objective in social policy is that they could lead an independent life and live at home. A central requirement for independent life of elderly people is to support their mobility, which is also productive in terms of national health and national economy.
In relation to the number of elderly people, they are more often involved in serious traffic accidents than other road user groups. The consequences of accidents are more severe to older people as ageing makes the body more vulnerable to injuries and the healing process longer.
The aim of this work was to prepare a comprehensive programme for improving road safety of elderly people with a view to securing elderly people’s possibilities for mobility.
The working group set an aim of improving road safety of the elderly so that in relation to their number it will improve as much as the road safety of other road users.
The work was carried out by a group of experts. The group charted the current situation and the expected trend regarding elderly people’s road safety, examined their special needs and characteristics in each road user group, and looked into the problems elderly people face in the transport system.
The working group proposed measures that would not unnecessarily limit elderly people's possibilities for mobility.
The proposed measures could reduce accidents outside built-up areas (head-on collisions, run-off-the-road and intersection accidents), accidents in built-up areas and accidents involving alcohol or drugs. Changes were also proposed to the validity of the right to drive and the supervision of drivers' health.
The working group recommended that the health assessment methods and the national expertise in transport medicine should be developed. Improvements could also be achieved through education and training, awareness-raising, closer cooperation and better transport services.