17th April 2019
SAFER MOTORING COURSES FOR OLDER DRIVERS DECLARED A SUCCESS
Older people across the Black Country are driving safely thanks to sessions hosted by councils and partners.
The Driving Safer For Longer sessions are run by the four Black Country councils, West Midlands Police, West Midlands Fire Service and Highways England.
They cover subjects include how to use smart motorways, what red X lane signs mean and how our eyesight changes as we age. Attendees also discuss the cost of driving versus using public transport and being aware of blue lights in an emergency.
Brake, the road safety charity, says that there are more older drivers on the roads than ever before, with the number of drivers aged 70 plus in the UK increasing by more than a third between 2002 and 2013.
While research does not indicate that there is a specific age at which people become unable to drive safely – someone aged 70 may be fitter, more alert and active then someone else much younger – Brake says that ageing eventually brings about a general deterioration in health and physical ability, as well as changes in cognitive performance, all of which can affect driving.
One of the people who attended the most recent Driving Safer For Longer session was 80-year-old Mike Webber, who is a member of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
He made a short presentation about his life and achievements to the 20 attendees, telling them how he became a member of the Advanced Institute of Motorists for the second time at the age of 79.
Ten of the 20 people on the session also took up the offer of a free IAM session to improve their driving skills, courtesy of IAM and the Black Country councils.
Sandwell Council’s Director of Regeneration and Growth Amy Harhoff said: “Driving can often be important to support social, economic and health inclusion for older people so it’s important we do what we can to help them to stay safe when they’re on the road.”
Future sessions being held in September and November are already fully booked and organisers are looking at arranging further dates to meet demand.