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At-Risk Driver Advisory Council Appointed;
Group Will Examine Issues Affecting Older Drivers

CONTACT: Robert Sanchez
Public Information Administrator

August 5, 2003

The effects of aging on driving skills will be one of the key issues to be examined by Florida’s newly appointed At-Risk Driver Advisory Council.

The Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles this week announced appointments to the council. The group was appointed pursuant to legislation that Gov. Jeb Bush signed into law on July 11.

The appointments were made in consultation with various stakeholder groups. The 28-member council includes representatives of state agencies, the medical profession, senior citizens’ advocacy groups, providers of services to senior citizens, and university-based research centers. The council is directed to report its findings to the Legislature by February 2004.

The legislation creating the council, Senate Bill 52, was sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Stephen R. Wise, R-Jacksonville, and in the House by Rep. Irving L. Slosberg, D-Boca Raton. SB 52 also requires that drivers over the age of 79 must pass a vision test before renewing their driver license. That requirement takes effect on January 1, 2004.

“Recent events have focused public attention on issues affecting older drivers,” said Fred O. Dickinson, Executive Director of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. “Florida has one of the nation’s largest populations of senior citizens, and the first members of the ‘baby-boomer generation’ will reach retirement age by the end of this decade. So it is timely and appropriate for Florida to examine these issues.”

The council includes a broad cross-section of Floridians. Members from state agencies are Terry White, Secretary of the Department of Elder Affairs; John Stanley, Executive Director of the Commission for the Transportation Disadvantaged; Ed Rice of the Florida Department of Transportation; and Selma Sauls of the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Dee Alexander of Jacksonville will serve as an ex officio member on behalf of Senator Wise. Lawrence Victoria, a Boca Raton senior citizen, will serve as an ex officio member on behalf of Representative Slosberg.

Medical professionals appointed to the council are Dr. Ken Brummel-Smith of Tallahassee; Dr. Terrence McCoy of Tallahassee; Dr. Byron Thames of Orlando; Dr. Ira Goodman of Orlando; Dr. Carmen A. Puliafito of Miami; Dr. Eric Rothchild of Delray Beach; Dr. Frederick Flink of Tallahassee, Dr. Greg Hollstrom of Largo; and Dr. Jack McDonald of Tallahassee.

Appointees from senior advocacy groups are Lyn Bodiford of Tallahassee, lobbyist for the Florida AARP; Fran Carlin-Rogers of Orlando, chairperson of the Alzheimer’s Disease Initiative Advisory Committee; and Margaret Lynn Duggar of Tallahassee, representing the Florida Council on Aging.

Representing providers of services to senior citizens are Susan Samson of St. Petersburg, from the Area Agency on Aging of Pasco-Pinellas; E. Douglas Beach, Ph.D., of Orlando, CEO of the Senior Resource Alliance; Kevin Blakewell of Tampa, Senior Vice President, AAA-Auto Club South; Sheila Salyer of Tallahassee, Director of the Tallahassee Senior Center; Sarah Jordan-Holmes of Tampa, President and CEO, Prevent Blindness Florida; and Lesa Kramer of Orlando, Director of Resource Development for Lighthouse for the Blind.

Representing university-based research centers are Dr. Ruth Tappen of Boca Raton, with Florida Atlantic University’s Safety Resource Center; Dr. William Mann of Gainesville, with the University of Florida’s Virtual Safety Resource Center; Dr. Janan Smither of Orlando, with the University of Central Florida’s Safety Resource Center; Dr. Jose Guerrier of Miami, with the University of Miami’s Safety Resource Center; and Dr. Neil Charness of Tallahassee, with Florida State University’s Claude Pepper Institute.

Analyses of crash statistics for different age groups have added to concern for the safety of older drivers and those who share the road with them. Although the crash rate for drivers in their 60s is the lowest for any age group, the rate begins to rise as drivers pass age 75. In addition, recent studies suggest that older drivers involved in traffic crashes are more vulnerable to serious injury or death.

2003 Press Releases       DHSMV Press Releases

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