History and Background
The first Massachusetts Strategic Highway Safety Plan (SHSP) was prepared in 2006. Since that time, Massachusetts has experienced a steady decline in the number of traffic-related crashes resulting in a decrease in fatalities and serious injuries by 19 percent (comparing 5-year averages from 2002 through 2011).
To keep Massachusetts moving “Toward Zero Deaths”, safety stakeholders came together in 2012 and completed an update of the SHSP to reflect new challenges in our State. Because older driver-related crashes account for more than 12% of all fatalities and more than 20% of all crash-related hospital stays in Massachusetts, older driver safety is an important area of focus. Furthermore, the population is aging and older drivers are making up a higher percentage of drivers with the percentage of older driver licenses in Massachusetts increasing from 13% of all active licenses in 2004 to 16% of all active licenses in 2014. Since it appears that this trend will continue, one of the goals of the SHSP is to reduce older-driver related injuries and fatalities by 20% by the year 2018.
A multi-disciplined team convened in early 2013 and developed a number of strategies to reach this goal. The need for a call to action to address a variety of pressing issues related to safe mobility for older drivers was apparent. The team envisioned a one-day conference addressing policy and research, roadway infrastructure, transportation options, education and training. Intended participants include law enforcement, health care providers, legislators, transportation planners, engineers, educators, social workers, researchers, public and private industry safety partners, and other stakeholders.
The Older Driver Safety Summit – Planning a Safe and Mobile Future for Massachusetts will be held at the University of Massachusetts Boston on Tuesday, June 16th, 2015. The Older Driver Safety Summit will provide a venue to exchange ideas, discuss strategies, and identify concrete steps toward reducing crashes and injuries and increasing safe mobility for older drivers. Summit dialogue will result in a 5-year blueprint to reduce crashes and improve safety across the Commonwealth.
Our hope is that this summit will inspire people to act, working together across disciplines to make positive and forward thinking change in the Commonwealth and beyond.