University News

OTD Presents CarFit: Enhancing Senior Driver Safety and Comfort

Published: May 31, 2023 | Categories: Pharmacy and Health Sciences, All News
Sign announcing CARFIT event in front of Blake Law School

The Western New England University Department of Occupational Therapy is delighted to announce the upcoming event, CarFit, taking place on Thursday, June 22 from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. The event will be held in the Blake Law Center Parking Lot and is open to the public.

CarFit, a community-based educational program created by AAA, AARP, and the American Occupational Therapy Association, offers a comprehensive 12-step check to adjust vehicles for optimal driving comfort and safety, with a particular focus on senior citizens.

According to AAA, research indicates that older drivers are among the safest drivers on the road. They exhibit higher seatbelt usage rates, lower instances of speeding, and are less likely to drink and drive. However, due to age-related physical changes and increased fragility, older individuals face a higher risk of serious injury or fatality in the event of a crash.

The CarFit check, tailored to all age groups but primarily designed for senior citizens, addresses the challenges that come with aging, such as arthritis and decreased vision, to ensure safe driving practices. As an organization committed to senior driver education, AAA recognizes the importance of providing seniors with the knowledge and tools to adjust their vehicles effectively and enhance both comfort and safety.

During the CarFit event, trained technicians will provide personalized attention to each participant, evaluating their fit behind the wheel and offering expert guidance on necessary adjustments. Technicians will ensure proper mirror positioning, correct seatbelt placement over the chest and shoulders, and appropriate head restraint alignment to mitigate collision risks, among other essential checks.

The American Occupational Therapy Association, the governing body for occupational therapy practitioners, emphasizes the unique role of occupational therapy in addressing driving and community mobility throughout individuals' lives. By understanding various conditions and life changes that can impact driving abilities and driving risks, occupational therapy practitioners possess the expertise to make a significant difference.

"We are thrilled not only to train our students as certified CarFit Technicians but also to provide this invaluable service to the Springfield community," expressed Brittany Adams, Assistant Professor and Department Chair of OTD at Western New England. "Occupational therapists are committed to helping our clients live life to its fullest, and we recognize how invaluable driving is as an occupation. CarFit helps to ensure that drivers are safe on the roads while maintaining their independence as members of our community. We hope to see you on Thursday!"

The Western New England University Department of Occupational Therapy's OTD program stands at the forefront of innovation in the field. The program, completed over three years spanning eight consecutive semesters (including two summers), is the first entry-level doctoral program to be implemented and accredited in western Massachusetts. Its curriculum is designed to advance knowledge beyond generalist practice, incorporating evidence-driven clinical practices, policy perspectives on population health promotion, cost-containment, and outcomes-driven management.

For further information about the CarFit event and the OTD program at Western New England University, please visit