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Campus Currents May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

May I Have the Keys, Dad?

As a teenager, asking dad for the keys to his car could be a scary proposition. But how do you know when it’s time to ask dad for the keys to his car because he’s getting too old to drive?

Keeping older drivers safe behind the wheel is the goal of a program created by experts with UC San Diego’s Trauma Epidemiology and Injury Prevention Research Center. The TREDS (Training, Research and Education for Driving Safety) program has trained hundreds of health care professionals in San Diego County to screen and diagnose, make referrals and, when necessary, assist older patients through the transition into driving retirement. 

“Treatment may be as simple as a new pair of glasses, some adaptive equipment for the car or physical therapy to improve range of motion,” says Linda Hill, M.D., M.P.H., clinical professor in the department of Family and Preventive Medicine at UCSD School of Medicine. “However, there are times when driving safely is no longer possible and health-care practitioners need to know the signs and symptoms.” 

The successful program is now expanding to include hospitals and outpatient medical sites in Riverside, San Bernardino and Imperial counties, and a similar program will be created to train California Highway Patrol personnel. “Getting older does not mean the end of a person’s driving days,” says Jim Abele, commander of CHP’s Border Division. “It’s the perfect time to evaluate, improve and maintain the safety and mobility of California’s senior drivers.”

For additional information or to schedule trainings, contact TREDS@ucsd.edu or (858) 534-9330.

—Kimberly Edwards