Geriatric center receives grant for affordable driver evaluations

The Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health (CEAGH) was awarded a grant this month by The Virginia Department for the Aging to offer free driver evaluations (a $295 value) to people in the greater Williamsburg area. The $10,000 grant will allow CEAGH to provide a certified driver rehabilitation specialist, Matt Pagels, CDRS, to perform a complete evaluation. The evaluation is conducted safely through the use of CEAGH’s driving simulator which was purchased through an earlier grant from the Williamsburg Community Health Foundation. The free checks will be available through September. Lou Rossiter, Director, Community Research shows off driving simulator used to provide Williamsburg area residents free driving evaluations. Photo credit: Stephen Salpukas, College of William and Mary.

Appointments are normally 90 minutes. Evaluation results are not sent or shared with the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), but they are sent to the driver’s physician for follow-up. If you, a family member or a love one needs a driving check contact CEAGH at 757.220.4751.

Drivers 65 years of age and older are more likely than teens to have fatal multi-vehicle crashes at intersections; and those 85 and older now surpass 16-year olds in frequency of fatalities per mile driven. As the number and percent of older drivers increases, especially in parts of the country such as the greater Williamsburg area, the projected statistics are not encouraging. Any effort to improve driving skills among older adults and evaluate the capabilities of older drivers can be viewed as a prevention effort to improve the public health with a very immediate impact on saving lives. CEAGH is listed on the DMV list of available driving evaluation options.

Individuals who develop a condition that may affect their ability to drive at any time in between renewal cycles for a driving license are required to notify the DMV of this condition. In addition to self-reporting, the DMV encourages responsible reporting from licensed medical professionals, law enforcement officers, relatives, and concerned citizens to identify drivers who may be unable to safely operate a motor vehicle. In fact, the DMV allows for confidential reporting of drivers by relatives or medical professional treating the driver; and will suspend a license simply based upon such a report until the driver can be evaluated.

This program is also supported by GrandDriver, sponsored by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and administered by the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles.

For additional information about this grant or the driver certification program, please contact CEAGH at 757.220.4751.

The founding members of the not-for-profit Center for Excellence in Aging and Geriatric Health include Eastern Virginia Medical School, Sentara Healthcare, Eastern State Hospital, Peninsula Agency on Aging, The College of William & Mary, Riverside Health System, Virginia Commonwealth University, and Crossroads Group.