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A one-stop shop to help older motorists
IT is designed as a one-stop shop to help elderly drivers who continue to get behind the wheel.
A new campaign is launched today aimed at helping and encouraging older motorists to drive safely for longer on the county’s roads.
It comes as the figures for crashes on Hampshire’s roads involving people over the age of 70 continue to slowly rise, with nearly one in ten fatal crashes caused by pensioners.
Now experts in road safety have come together with council, fire and police chiefs in Hampshire to create an Older Drivers Forum which is designed to be a focal point for advice.
Supported by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, it also has the backing of older people’s charities, including Age Concern and Age UK, and has been created as an online tool where people can get advice and tips.
And to mark the launch, the forum is running an Older Driver Awareness Week starting today where people can pop in at one of six events being held in local communities across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight and get information on a range of subjects including eyesight tests, renewing licences, alternatives to driving and how to stay independent without a car.
The forum is also launching a series of videos throughout the week which detail the facilities and support available to older drivers, in which scheme patron and former BBC presenter Bruce Parker, who is now in his 70s, speaks about how he feels the ageing process has affected his driving and the support both schemes have given him to ensure he stays safe on the road.
Sergeant Rob Heard, from Hampshire Constabulary’s Roads Policing Unit, co-ordinator and chair of the Older Drivers Forum, said: “We understand how vital it is for the older motorist to keep their independence, and that staying behind the wheel is a very important part of that process.
“Statistics show us that you are no more likely to be involved in a collision at the age of 70 than any other age group. However, age-related decline in mental and physical abilities coupled with age related frailty can make older drivers more likely to be involved in a crash and more vulnerable to serious injuries.”
He added: “Once over 70, drivers are more likely to be at fault, particularly where right of way violations are involved. Research has shown that drivers aged over 85 are four times more likely to have caused a crash than have been an innocent victim of one.
“We are dedicated to reducing casualties on our roads and keeping all road users safe, and this forum has been brought together to focus on the specific issues faced by older drivers, and to give them all the help and support to carry on driving safely for longer and provide advice about managing without a car if their skills suddenly deteriorate to the point that driving becomes too difficult or unsafe.”
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