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Toyota and AARP keep older drivers on right road

Toyota has awarded the AARP Foundation a $12.6 million grant to promote driver safety among older, low-income Americans. The money continues to fund a program that has successfully educated men and women over the age of 50 about the perils of the road for 32 years now.

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This grant, announced at AAEP's Life@50+ National Event & Expo, will help low-income older people secure everyday essentials of food, housing, income and what Toyota calls "personal connection." A dearth of safe and reliable transportation is a leading contributor to the increase in isolation among older Americans who lack money.

“Far too often half the people who don’t drive or no longer drive are stuck at home,” said Jo Ann Jenkins, president of the AARP Foundation. “This grant from Toyota will help us keep the boomer generation (who) grew up in carpools alert to the challenges of driving safely in an era of high-tech cars and crowded roads.”

The money will be used to:

1. Collaborate with the nation’s experts to develop a new driver safety course curriculum that incorporates the most innovative approaches and advancements in driver education.

2. Build awareness among older drivers and younger caregivers on the importance of keeping one’s driving skills sharp and up to date.

3. Broaden awareness of the program in multicultural communities and recruit new volunteers.

“Safety for drivers, passengers and pedestrians is a top priority for Toyota,” said Pat Pineda, group vice president of philanthropy for Toyota. “With this grant to the AARP Foundation we are enhancing our commitment to supporting initiatives that educate people about how to maintain safe driving habits at every stage of life.”

The Driver Safety Program first launched in 1979. Today, it is the nation’s largest classroom / online driver safety course designed especially for drivers age 50 and older. Since the program’s inception, more than 13 million participants have completed the course.

Toyota said in a statement the course covers the normal changes in vision, hearing and reaction time associated with aging and provides practical techniques on how to adjust to these changes. Participants also learn how to operate their vehicles safely in today's increasingly challenging driving environment.

Reach TN's Hawke Fracassa at [email protected] or (248) 747-1550. Follow him on Twitter @Hawke Fracassa.

Image source: Pictured is a 1957 Toyota with an older driver. Photo courtesy Toyota.

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