Thursday, February 09, 2006

Trade-In: Keys for Free Ride

How old is too old to drive? That may be a question only rightly answered by the seniors themselves and the families with whom they live in mutual support and care, but numbers indicate that drivers 75 and older have higher crash rates per mile than all other groups except 16-18-year-olds. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety reports the number of fatal crashes annually for senior drivers is expected to double by the year 2030.

ITN stands for Independent Transportation Network, one answer to the growing need for alternative transportation for seniors, and, as Sarah Miller Llana reports Tuesday for the Christian Science Monitor, ITN is catching on across the country. The program offers free, on-call transportation to seniors in exchange for the keys to the car – vehicles often sitting idle in driveways and garages for the various reasons that blossom with age. With ITN, the value of the vehicle is redeemed for free transportation. Rides average about $8 roundtrip, and if the value of the vehicle runs out, family and friends can replenish the account with volunteer time or donated cars of their own.

The program was initiated by Katherine Freund of Maine as an outcome of her work in graduate study. State legislatures in Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New York are currently working to establish similar programs in their states. Cities across the country have already enacted comparable initiatives. For my money, it’s a great idea – a savings in cost and a liberty to more conveniently reconnect with community. Everybody wins!

Thanks to rebecca’s pocket for the tip on the story.

1 comment:

Winston said...

Tremendous idea...I have not heard of this before but it is certainly a program that should spread. There are far too many cars that are basically abandoned in their own driveways and garages. After 2 or 3 years of sitting there, many are functionally useless without major expenditures. My mom still fusses occasionally about why she cannot have her car back, but like many her age, she has no business being behind the wheel.