Cars have changed. So have highway safety laws.

6,064,000

Vehicle crashes in 2014
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

$8,900

Average cost for a property damage accident (with no injury claims)
Source: National Safety Council

425,000

Number of people killed or injured in crashes involved distracted drivers in 2013
Source: National Highway Traffic Safety Administration

Some insurance companies are offering special senior-only discounts for driver safety training.

Senior Driving Clinic with UAMS

Thompson Driving School and UAMS are teaming up to make certain seniors are safe and competent drivers.

Senior clinics are held on the first floor of the UAMS Family Medical Center at 521 Jack Stephens Drive. The clinic will be open Mondays with appointment times at 9 a.m. and 10 a.m., and driving assessment times at 10 a.m. and 11 a.m. To make an appointment or patient referral, call 501-686-6565. Initially, appointment times will be limited to assess for need and community support.

The entire assessment will cost $600 — $400 for a physical exam by a physician and $200 for a driving evaluation by Thompson Driving of Little Rock. The cost will not be covered by insurance. For the clinical assessment, the patient will undergo a detailed medical history, a comprehensive physical exam with emphasis on hearing, vision and cognitive function testing to assess the ability of the subject to safely perform the complex activity of driving. Bruce Randolph, M.D., an associate professor in the UAMS Family Medical Center, will complete the clinical assessment.

If the patient passes the physical portion, the same day, an instructor from Thompson Driving, will take the patient for the driving segment of the assessment.

Many auto insurance companies offer discounts for policies whereby drivers have taken formal driving courses. Thompson offers new car driver training and specializes in driver training of fleet operations leading to savings on corporate fleet operations. Call Thompson Driving School for information on new driver education courses featuring both classroom and personalized one-on-one behind-the-wheel driving instruction and driver evaluations.

Not so fast facts:

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says that older drivers are keeping their licenses longer and driving more miles than ever before. The high fatality rates of this age group reflect the fact older drivers are more easily injured than younger people and are more apt to have medical complications and die of those injuries. According to the Governors Highway Safety Administration, impairments in three key areas—vision, cognition and motor function—are responsible for higher crash rates for older drivers. Vision declines with age; cognition, which includes memory and attention, can be impacted by medical problems such as dementia and medication side effects; and motor function suffers as flexibility declines due to diseases such as arthritis.

In 2008, 183,000 older individuals were injured in traffic crashes, accounting for 8 percent of all the people injured in traffic crashes during the year. These older individuals made up 15 percent of all traffic fatalities, 14 percent of all vehicle occupant fatalities, and 18 percent of all pedestrian fatalities. (NHTSA’s National Center for Statistics and Analysis, 1200 New Jersey Avenue SE., Washington, DC 20590)

Call 501-225-4028 for more information.