The confidential skills appraisal, which is entirely voluntary, is aimed at helping people stay safe on the road for as long as possible.
With an ageing population, Hampshire has more drivers in their eighties and nineties than any other county outside of Greater London. While mature drivers generally are involved in fewer reported accidents than young drivers, as people grow older, gradual changes taking place mean their ability to deal safely with some situations diminishes. A slight increase in awareness or improvement in skills can be all it takes to make them safer and feel confident to carry on driving and maintain their independence.
Our Driver Skills Scheme 60+ has been recognised at a national level, featuring on BBC’s the One Show, as well as the BBC’s online news magazine earlier this year. Driver Polly, 75, was filmed on her assessment under the watchful eye of our senior road safety officer Graham.
Polly put herself forward for the assessment in the wake of a close friend being killed in a road accident. Polly uses her car every day and ‘would be lost without it’. If she had been told it was no longer safe to drive she would have felt devastated.
Graham’s been assessing elderly drivers in Hampshire for over eight years. With Polly, he felt he’d had ‘a nice, safe journey’.
Taking away someone’s independence when you do have to say it’s not safe to drive, and recommend they retire from driving, is a difficult thing to do, so we don’t take that decision lightly
It was a relief for Polly, who said she did feel she could hold her head up, especially when her son said ‘all oldies need to be off the road!’
Our Road Safety Team also offers free, confidential advice to older drivers in Hampshire. This can cover anything from initial concerns about a family member or friend, through to how to deal with a driver who has developed a medical condition and continues to drive in an unsafe manner. If you know anyone who would benefit from this advice please contact our Road Safety Team, on 01962 832211.