For the past eight years, Regions Hospital has been offering free car seat clinics to ensure the youngest members of our community are safe. But what about older drivers? This summer, Regions Injury Prevention and Rehabilitation Institute teams partnered to bring CarFit to our community, with a goal to keep more people safe on the road.
CarFit is a free, educational program that provides a quick, comprehensive review of how well mature drivers and their vehicles fit together. The program, which was developed by the American Automobile Association (AAA), the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP), and the American Occupational Therapy Association (AOTA), goes through a check list with drivers to see where they are being safe and where they are not.
Some of the check list items include:
- Is your seatbelt on?
- Is the lap belt low and tight across your hip/pelvis but not your stomach? Is the shoulder belt over your collarbone, away from your breastbone and fitting snugly across your chest?
- Is your steering wheel 10 inches away from your breastbone? Is the steering wheel positioned so the airbag will deploy toward your chest, not your face?
- Is your line of sight at least three inches above the top of the steering wheel?
- Does your rearview mirror show as much of the rear window as possible? Are the left and right mirrors adjusted so you can only see a little bit of your car?
To help train Regions first CarFit technicians, we held our first event at the Oakdale Fire Department in June.
“I’d say the first CarFit event was a success. There was a great turnout and all the drivers seemed pleased with the information they received. All the technicians got plenty of great hands on experience too,” said Shonette Doggett, Supervisor of the Injury Prevention Program at Regions.
During the event, there was a break in the schedule so Shonette decided to test her driving safety. She brought her van in and had the technicians run through the check list with her. “I have to say, it’s a great idea for all drivers to go through something like this,” she said. “I had a six foot blind spot I never knew about. It was incredibly helpful for me because I never would have known about this spot and they helped me adjust my mirrors so I can now see all around my car.”
Programs like CarFit are important because our population is aging. The U.S. Census Bureau determined that by 2030, one in five people will be 65 or older and in some communities, that translates to one in four drivers. We want to make sure these community members are keeping themselves, and other people on the road, safe.
Although the Regions CarFit is only in its beginning stages, our goal is to have more events each year based on the need or request. Stay tuned for a fall CarFit event!