Driving is an important part of life for many people, providing freedom and independence. There isn't a definitive age at which a driver automatically becomes less safe on the roads, but as we age, our health, eyesight, mobility and reaction times may begin to deteriorate.
Next week, 26th – 30th September, is National Older Drivers Awareness Week and Transport for Buckinghamshire (TfB) will be promoting the benefits of driving assessments to motorists, and their families, across Buckinghamshire. County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation, supports this initiative which helps older people retain independence while staying safe: “The aim of the assessment is to support drivers, look for any changes in their driving, and to help them keep driving safely for longer. If you’re an older driver, this week is an opportunity to consider if a driving assessment could benefit you. We want people to know that there is help available should they need it, now or in the future.”
Older driver assessments are carried out on local roads in the driver’s own car, and are designed around their specific driving needs. The session lasts one hour and costs £37.
Since April 2012, TfB has carried out over 400 mature driver assessments, the majority of which are entered into voluntarily by drivers who wish to ensure they are still driving safely. Just over a quarter of participants are referred for assessments by their GP surgeries and Health Specialists, and many drivers return for regular reassessment.
Testimonials from drivers who have taken the Older Driver Assessment:
- “I have more confidence that I am driving safely”
- “Advice on how to avoid using a car was very helpful. Drivers are not generally encouraged to use alternative transport and it’s the elderly who need the help the most”
- “I found the scheme admirable in that it focused on my driving skills. I had previously passed my test in 1956 and therefore in that [intervening] period, signs and rules had been introduced. It was my suggestion that we went to High Wycombe as it gave me practice in driving through built up areas and on the M40 motorway”
- “Wonderful idea for any age. We all become complacent no matter how good a driver”
For more information, or to apply for a Mature Driver assessment (either for yourself, family member, or friend), visit www.buckscc.gov.uk/beabetterdriver or call 01296 382416.