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Older drivers given help and advice
IT was the one stop shop that gave dozens of older Southampton drivers the chance to get all the help and advice they need – under one roof.
More than 100 people turned out to pick up tips on how to stay safe behind the wheel as a new campaign got under way across Hampshire.
The Older Drivers Forum was officially launched this week with a series of roadshows to showcase what is on offer to motorists who choose to continue driving in their later years.
From eyesight tests to licence renewals and ideas for alternative ways to get around instead of by car, representatives from police, county council and road safety organisations manned stalls at Lordshill Community Centre.
Joining them was Hampshire mum Pat Colquhoun, who had her own poignant story to share in a bid to make people think about how to remain safe on the roads.
In 2011, her son Neil was killed in a head-on crash on a dual carriageway by an 89-year-old driver who was blind in one eye and should never have been behind the wheel. The collision happened after he missed a turning for Basingstoke town centre and drove the wrong way along the road.
The community event was also attended by former BBC presenter Bruce Parker, who is patron of the new forum. He spoke to visitors about his concerns and how ageing has affected his driving.
Sgt Rob Heard, of Hampshire police’s road death investigation team and chairman of the Older Drivers Forum, said: “I created the forum following Neil’s death. Patricia was keen to see a change and we did not want her son’s death to go to waste.”
He told how research showed that there are more than four million people over the age of 70 who hold a driving licence, with that number set to double in 20 years’ time.
Speaking about the roadshows, Sgt Heard said: “It’s been a success because we have addressed driving safely for older people and we have had over 100 people through the door each day. Everyone who comes here walks away feeling fulfilled.”
Mrs Colquhoun said: “I’m happy there has been a really big turnout. A lot of people I have spoken to feel that this is an issue and many have told me they would like to have a further assessment. People have to be responsible for their driving but sometimes they are not, so if you have a concern about a neighbour or someone like that you should get in touch.”
Visit olderdriversforum.com for more information.
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