Hampshire Older Drivers Forum Highly Commended in Prince Michael International Road Safety Awards
On Tuesday 8th December at the International Road Safety awards ceremony at the Savoy Hotel in London, the Hampshire Older Drivers Forum was highly commended for its contribution to improving Road Safety and awarded a Commendation Certificate by His Royal Highness Prince Michael of Kent.
Sgt Rob Heard, Hampshire Constabulary, the founder and chair of the Older Drivers Forum, accepted the certificate on behalf of the Forum from Prince Michael of Kent, together with Simon Gomer, the Safer Roads Manager for Hampshire Constabulary
Sgt Rob Heard says ‘I am extremely proud that the great work of the forum has been recognised internationally. We need to embrace and celebrate the older generation and support those who wish to continue driving with practical, informative advice on how to drive safely for longer, but also give advice when it is time to retire from driving. We know that older motorists have a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance. However, sight, hearing, reaction time and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was.
Fragility increases with age, so injuries tend to be more serious and recovery takes much longer. Casualty rates do increase for car drivers aged over about 65, and the fatality rate increases significantly.’
‘That’s where we come in. The Older Drivers Forum is about keeping mature motorists on the road safely for longer. Whether that’s helping giving that practical and informative help to continue driving or pointing you in the right direction for an assessment to identify your driving needs – from wing mirror adapters to an elevated driving seat – we’re here to help. We’re a not-for-profit organisation made up of experts in road safety from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – from representatives from the emergency services, to charities, local authorities and businesses specialising in keeping older people on the road.’
‘We’ve a number of stakeholders that all have a vital role in contributing towards helping the mature person stay safer on the roads. Special thanks needs to go to Hampshire County Council who run an appraisal for drivers called ‘Driver skills 60+’ and also special thanks to Wessex DriveAbility, a local Driving Mobility Centre, who carry out adaption and ‘Fitness to Drive’ assessments for drivers and passengers who need specialist support for often medical conditions.’
Hampshire’s Older Drivers Forum has been recognised nationally with a lot of it’s ideas and work rolling out across the country. Sgt Rob Heard is now a member of the National Older Drivers Task Force where he is chair of a committee looking at Self help and support for Older Drivers. The Older Drivers Task Force is due to submit a report to the government by mid 2016 with it’s recommendations.