New Forum will keep 'older drivers driving safely for longer'
Road safety professionals from across Hampshire and the IOW have come together to create an Older Driver Forum, with the aim of keeping mature motorists safely on the road for longer.
A partnership comprising representatives from Hampshire Constabulary, Hampshire County Council, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Services, Southampton City Council, Portsmouth City Council, AIM, Age Concern Hampshire and Wessex Driveability has created the Forum as a ‘one-stop shop’ to offer advice and information to older drivers, their friends and family.
The advice on offer ranges from budgeting to maintain a car on a pension, to pointing older drivers in the right direction for an assessment to identify their driving needs, advice on wing mirror adapters to an elevated driving seat, and raising awareness among friends and family about warning signs for medical conditions that affect driving.
The Forum is running an Older Driver Awareness Week (23-28 Sept) at locations across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, supported by the BBC presenter Bruce Parker. Events during the week will cover eyesight, renewing licences, driving appraisals to update skills, medical conditions and support for managing without a car. Experts from the Forum will be on hand to answer questions, offer advice and information.
For more information contact Charlotte Tilling, senior RSO with Hampshire County Council, on 01962 832204.
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No doubt those who can afford to use taxis do so and it is an option we suggest if someone is giving up their car. Very many elderly people on fixed incomes, faced with rising bills simply cannot afford the luxury of a taxi for these long and therefore costly journeys.
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
Honor said: "How else do you visit your friends, get to the swimming pool or the GP surgery if they are 15 miles from where you live and there’s no bus?"
The generation we are referring to are the wartime and post war generation; probably the healthiest generation there has ever been. Age has its effects – physical and cognitive - but being aware of those factors and adjusting your driving and your route can enable most drivers to keep driving safely.
Much of this country is still countryside with scattered towns and villages and many older people live outside of these. Limited bus services now face further cuts. Bus passes cannot be used on Community Buses. Entitlement to transport for hospital appointments is severely curtailed.
The Hampshire programme, like those provided in North Yorkshire, Suffolk, Gloucestershire and elsewhere are about keeping people independent and able to make their own decisions, not rely on asking others for a lift or, often, just not go out. This is crucial for self-esteem and aids mental as well as physical health – how else do you visit your friends, get to the swimming pool or the GP surgery if they are 15 miles from where you live and there’s no bus?
Honor Byford, North Yorkshire
Of course one of the most important things for older drivers to do is not to become totally dependent upon their cars. Their own active mobility in walking and cycling is crucial to their fitness and remaining mobile.
Older people also have far less ability to determine the speed of oncoming vehicles through identifying the rate of looming and distance. Test have shown a similar inability in the elderly and under 10's to accurately assess the oncoming speed of cars and failing to be able to accurately assess the speed of oncoming vehicles.
Rod King, 20's Plenty for Us
I am sure that anything positively introduced that allays the fears of elderly people, who no doubt have the fear of losing their driving licence ie their independence, is a good thing and a positive step. If there was more pro-active assistance widely available then I am sure that many would take it up.
bob craven Lancs