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A website aimed at helping older people adapt to changes in their driving to stay safe on the road, has been launched by the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA).
The website offers tips on how individuals can update their driving skills and knowledge to maintain their freedom and independence on the road, as well as advice for families or friends who are concerned about a loved one’s driving.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA's head of road safety, said: “The older we are, the more experience we have as drivers. This is one of the reasons why older drivers tend to be safer and more considerate drivers.
“However, our health and fitness often begins to decline as we grow older. Our eyesight, physical condition and reaction times may not be as good as they once were, and we may develop age-related conditions, or be taking medications that can affect our driving.”
“Many older drivers recognise that their driving ability is changing and alter when and where they drive to compensate – but not all drivers do this. There comes a time when each of us needs to reduce our driving, or even stop altogether. Of course, this is different for each person; there isn't an age at which we automatically become unsafe to drive.
“The aim of the website is to help older people to continue to drive for as long as they are safe to do so, and to provide advice on making the decision to retire from driving if they are no longer able to drive safely,” he added.
According to RoSPA, more than 14,000 people pass away as a result of road accidents across the UK each year.
The move comes as families of those killed in accidents involving older people have urged for driving retests.
The call has come from the family of Michael Luciw, 27, from Nottingham, who was killed in a crash with an 87-year-old travelling the wrong way on the M1.
Ben Brooks-Dutton, whose wife Desreen was killed by an 85-year-old driver when he mounted the pavement, has set up an online petition calling for drivers over 70 to face a compulsory retest every three years.
The older drivers website, set up with funding from the Department for Transport, offers tips on how people can update their driving skills and knowledge.
It will help drivers to:
• Recognise whether and how their driving is changing;
• Find out what they can do to cope with these changes, such as change when and where they drive, adapt their car or take driver assessment or training;
• Find local driving assessment or refresher training;
• Understand the law about health conditions and driving and how to renew their driving licence;
• Plan for the need to change when and where they drive, and if it becomes necessary, to retire from driving.
The RoSPA website has been welcomed by the charity Age UK. Caroline Abrahams, charity director, said: “We warmly welcome the launch of this new website which aims to help older drivers stay safe on the roads for longer.
“Driving gives choice and control over where and when someone travels, whether that's to the shops or to visit family and friends.
“A person's driving skills can't be judged by the date on their birth certificate. Everyone needs to take responsibility for making sure they are safe on the road, at any age.
“Driving brings freedom and independence and it's important that people are supported to continue driving safely for as long as possible.”
RoSPA are a registered charity that promote safety and the prevention of accidents at work, at leisure, on the road, in the home and through safety education.
For more information or to visit the website, view: www.olderdrivers.org.uk.