What is CarFit?

CarFit is a national educational program to help older drivers find their safest fit. You might be wondering – what does that really mean?

During a CarFit session, trained volunteers go through a 12-point checklist, guiding drivers through simple changes that can make a big difference for their driving experience including:

  • Adjusting their seat belt for best protection
  • Moving the steering wheel for improved visibility & airbag safety
  • Positioning the head restraint to prevent neck injuries
  • Moving the seat to comfortably reach gas and brake pedals
  • Using mirrors and over-the-shoulder checks to reduce blind spots
  • Recognizing safety features and technology

Making these changes enhances safety and comfort for all drivers but is especially important for older drivers, who are more likely to be fatally injured in a crash.


CarFit sessions are done in-person, either as an Event or 1:1. Either option can be scaled in a way that works best for your organization and community. While the checklist stays the same, there are some differences between the two formats.
 

CarFit Event CarFit 1:1
Format Single day, lasting a few hours Individual sessions or ongoing program (appointments, walk-in hours)
Scheduling Set event time Flexible scheduling

Ability to reschedule due to weather or staffing limitations

Stations Participants move through 3 stations – Check-In, Check-Up, Check Out Complete everything at 1 station
Space Needed Large section of the parking lot away from traffic, where participants can drive forward between stations without backing up or turning around. Space to open doors and walk around the vehicle (2-3 parking spaces)
Number of Attendees Flexible in size 1
Staff Required 5+ 1-2 (a second volunteer is beneficial for mirror checks)
Who can complete CarFit checks Technicians or Coordinator 1:1 Coordinator 1:1
Occupational Therapist Required at event for final review Optional at event, refer as needed
Event Coordinator Required Optional

 

Get Involved

The NC Senior Driver Information Center, housed at the UNC Highway Safety Research Center (HSRC), helps coordinate the state-wide CarFit Program. We're here to support events, provide training, and offer resources to local programs.

There are many ways you can get involved with CarFit:

Partner with HSRC to host a community event

Curious about CarFit and want to see a session in action? Collaborate with HSRC to bring CarFit to your community.

If you're involved with Child Passenger Safety or are a Permanent Checking Station, consider hosting an Intergenerational Event providing CarFit checks alongside car seat checks, promoting older driver safety.

Get trained

Join over 150 CarFit Technicians and Coordinators in North Carolina. The CarFit certification program, managed nationally by AAA, AARP, and AOTA, offers local training sessions facilitated by Event Coordinators.

To schedule an individual or group training or for more information, reach out to Elizabeth Pinyan or Kristel Robison at info@ncseniordriver.org.

Set up a program in your community

Whether you're part of a senior center, occupational therapy department, or another community organization, you can integrate CarFit into your existing programs and services.

Learn more about setting up a program in your community in the NC CarFit Getting Started Guide.

There is no one “right” way to do it! You have the flexibility to tailor your program to your organization and community - from hosting annual events, scheduling 1:1 appointments, to dedicating an hour monthly for walk-ins.
 

  < CarFit 1:1 CarFit Events >  
Blue Cross NC Institute for Health and Human Services

IHHS integrated CarFit 1:1 into their Aging Well Clinic through Aging Well Health Screenings and referrals.

These CarFit 1:1 sessions are led by an interdisciplinary team of 3 staff members and social work interns.

Orange County Center on Aging

Providing both CarFit Events and 1:1 sessions is an excellent approach for the Senior Center to engage its members.

During Older Driver Safety Awareness Week, they hosted a successful CarFit and Winter Weather Check-Up.

They also use an appointment-based system to schedule CarFit 1:1 sessions.

Promotion is integrated into the Senior Center’s existing marketing, including the quarterly newsletter, emails, and TV slides.

Methodist University Department of Occupational Therapy

Methodist University integrates Technician training and 1-2 community events a year into coursework, a common approach among OT programs.

Collaborating with the professor, HSRC facilitates Technician Training for students, culminating in the hosting of a community event.

 
For more information on the national CarFit program, visit https://car-fit.org/.