Devon's older drivers offered help and advice to keep behind the wheel
Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and the Highways Agency are launching a partnership campaign at Westpoint at 11:30pm on Thursday February 25, offering advice and support to older motorists who may be concerned at keeping their drivin
Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and the Highways Agency are launching a partnership campaign at Westpoint at 11:30pm on Thursday February 25, offering advice and support to older motorists who may be concerned at keeping their driving skills up to date and whether they are still fit to drive.
Keeping track of changes to the highway code and road signs can be difficult for any driver, and older drivers face the added concern of how the ageing process can affect eyesight, memory, decision-making and reaction times - all important factors while at the wheel.
The county council and Devon and Cornwall Constabulary are launching a new DVD for its Driving Safer for Longer scheme, and the Highways Agency is also promoting its new Careful! Considerate! Correct! DVD and booklet.
Driving Safer for Longer addresses health-related driving issues, and also offers practical skills to allow motorists to review their ability. Careful! Considerate! Correct! is the Highways Agency's DVD and booklet aimed at older drivers and is a light hearted reminder of essential tips for safer driving.
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Drivers over the age of 70 have to re-apply for a driving licence and the initiatives can help motorists ensure they are fit to be behind the wheel.
Statistically, an older person's risk of being killed or suffering a serious injury as a result of a road traffic collision is up to five times greater because of increases in physical frailty.
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Councillor Stuart Hughes, Devon County Council cabinet member for highways and transportation, said: "A driving licence is very important for many older drivers in maintaining their independence, particularly for those who live in rural areas and need their car to go shopping, to go to the doctors and to social events. For those who want to continue to drive, these two schemes can help make everyone safer on our roads. There will come a time in all of our lives when we have to stop driving. Knowing when to stop driving is not an easy decision, but these schemes offer valuable advice and support."
Highways Agency regional performance manager, Malcolm Wilkinson, said: "The roads and motorways have changed significantly over the past 50 years and it is important that drivers are equipped with an up to date knowledge and understanding of today's roads. These two programmes are a useful way to get drivers up to speed on these latest developments and to help them to stay safe on the roads."
Sergeant Glenn Bullock, of Devon and Cornwall Police, said: "The population of Devon is getting progressively older; by 2018 it is anticipated that 47 per cent will be over the age of 50. The age of the driving population is also increasing with many more of 80+ year olds holding a driving licence. The largest increase in licence retention over the past 30 years has been in the 65+ year old female group. The majority of senior motorists have made irreversible lifestyle choices built around the ownership and continued use of a car. The partnerships involved in these two schemes recognise that independence is key to living a full and productive life and the DVDs provide very useful information to help senior motorists to keep driving for as long and as safely as possible.