Quarter of fatal crashes in Wisconsin involve drivers 65 and older

Local News

According to a national transportation research group, Wisconsin has the highest rate for fatal crashes involving elderly drivers in the country.

26 percent of fatal crashes in 2016 involved someone 65 or older.

For some Green Bay senior citizens, not driving is not an option.

I would never want to get my license taken away,” says Pat Brault. “I would always like to be driving.”

That’s despite the fact Wisconsin leads the nation in fatal crashes involving people 65 and older.

“I drive because there is no transportation in the city to get anywhere you need to get,” says Cathy Ramsdell. “I think that’s really a disadvantage to the citizens of the DePere, Green Bay, Howard, Bellevue, so they need to revamp the system.”

But that is no longer the case.

“Everybody wants to keep their license and the independence for as long as they can, but if they get to that point where they can’t, we’re here to help them, that’s what we’re here for,” says Tina Whetung, transportation manager for Curative Connections.

Curative Connections provides transportation services to those 60 and older who no longer drive, no matter the reason.

You don’t have to fill out the online application if you meet the 60 year age minimum and they work with the aging and disability resource center and mobility service centers to let seniors in Brown county know they can get you where you need to go.

“For some of the clients the decision is rather easy, their children will make it for them, they say that they don’t think that they are able to drive,” says Whetung. “Or they make the decision themselves which is difficult in itself, because they give up a huge amount of their flexibility.”

Local 5 spoke to the Wisconsin Department of Transportation in Madison to see they require drivers to take vision, dexterity or reaction time tests as they age.

They told us as of now there aren’t any tests in place for specific age groups.

“I think it’s up to the doctors that treat you to say if you should drive or not,” says Ramsdell.

And until any guidelines are created, Cathy and Pat will continue to drive.

“I want to keep driving because I want to be able to hop in my car and go someplace, I don’t want to be house-bound.”

The report by the transportation research group says to make driving safer for older drivers signage lettering should be bigger and brighter, merge lanes should be longer and more education and training programs should be created for older drivers.
 

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