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Free course hopes to ease worries about older drivers

John Freeman
Lancashire County Council is highlighting that a free course for older drivers may be the answer to families' concerns about an elderly relative driving.

The project follows the release of a new report by the Institute of Advanced Motorists who carried out a poll showing that forty-two per cent of people are worried about an older person's driving, yet they are unlikely to do anything about it.

A further finding was that while some elderly people should not still be driving, most are perfectly capable drivers and more than qualified to stay on the road - and up to 15 per cent give up too early.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Talking to an elderly relative about their driving is a difficult conversation to have. Driving is associated with independence, so giving up the car keys can be a very stressful process."

Places are available on the county council's award-winning Drive Safely for Longer Course.

The popular scheme allows drivers aged 65 and over, who may have passed their test many years ago, to boost their confidence and become safer drivers by going for a short trip with a road safety adviser alongside them.

The course, now in its fourth year, has been developed in Lancashire following studies which show there has been a considerable reduction in road injuries among people aged under-65 in recent years, but this has not been matched by a corresponding reduction in older casualties.

Carol Melhuish, Lancashire County Council transportation officer, said: "Our Drive Safely for Longer course has received great feedback from the 1,500 people who have completed it over the past three years.

"We meet people at their home to go for a drive and offer friendly advice, which people find convenient and has a positive impact on the way they drive."

The Drive Safely for Longer Course won the national Transport Award 2013 for Excellence in Road Safety Traffic Management and Enforcement.

Despite headlines and concerns for elderly drivers, the age group that causes the most car accidents is from 16 to 24 years old, usually the age where people are starting to learn how to drive.

• Call 01772! 456412 or email to find out more or book your place