Students Host Safe Driving Event for Senior Citizens
September 30, 2013
DuBOIS – Penn State DuBois Occupational Therapy
Assistant (OTA) program students and faculty volunteered their time to help
senior citizens stay safe behind the wheel on Friday at DuBois Village Personal
Care Home. The Older Driver Safety Event
was a collaborative effort
between the faculty and students in the OTA program,
administrators at DuBois Village, Brant's Driving School of Johnstown, and Penn
The event featured several components including a
seminar and a "Does Your Car Fit You" program. The "We Need to Talk" seminar offered
by Penn State DuBois faculty provided tactics for broaching the sensitive topic
of a loved one's ability to continue driving.
"Does Your Car Fit You" is a program aimed
at helping older drivers find ways make their cars "fit" them
best. Small adjustments are made to
parts of vehicles when needed, including the steering wheel, seat, seat belt,
and mirrors to achieve optimum visibility, safety and comfort. The OTA students
were trained to administer the program and offer drivers suggestions on any
adjustments they may need to make to their cars.
"This helps keep the elderly out in the
community and helps them feel more comfortable while traveling," said
student Becca Gherrity of Tyron.
Student Victoria Holben of Brockway added,
"This is something you would not see offered anywhere else, and I can see
how it would be very useful for people."
"This helps show people in the community what
occupational therapy can do," said student Betsy Crawford of DuBois.
The program is also useful for the students, who are
training for careers in occupational therapy where they'll work with people in
"You get to judge someone's physical abilities
and mental functions, and how they're able to move," said Josh Bonante of
DuBois. Gherrity added, "It helps
us get comfortable talking with and working with people."
Carolyn Skaggs of DuBois Village helped to organize
the event, and was grateful that the OT students participated. She said, "I think it's wonderful that
they were willing to come out and spend time here helping people learn how to
stay safe while driving. I also think
it's great that they're pursuing an education in a field that benefits so many
Skaggs went on to point out the benefits that the
"Does Your Car Fit You" program can have for older drivers, and the
value of the services the students provided.
"It makes them aware that if they do properly
set things like mirrors and seats that they'll be able to drive more
effectively and more safely. They'll be
able to see better and drive better," Skaggs said.
A driving rehabilitation specialist was also available
during the event to provide more detailed information on driving assessments
and vehicle modifications.