Free Webinars

Rob Heard ODF poster

To register to watch a webinar click here

The Older Drivers Forum are supporting Project Edwards week of action, themed ‘Fit for the Road’ between the 13th to 17th September 2021. The Forum will be running a series of six free webinars during the week. Each webinar is on a different subject and designed to help and support the mature motorist to carry on driving safely for longer.  

Project EDWARD stands for ‘Every Day Without A Road Death’ and is an annual UK-wide road safety campaign backed by government, the emergency services, highways agencies, road safety organisations and British businesses.

Shockingly, on average 5 people a day are killed and around 150,000 people are injured each year on roads in Great Britain. Unfortunately, 20% of all deaths on our roads are older people. As older licence holders are increasing every year, fatalities for drivers aged 70 and over are forecasted to increase by 22% by 2040. 

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.

The Older Drivers Forum is about keeping mature motorists on the road safely for longer. Whether that’s helping giving practical and informative help and support to continue driving or pointing people in the right direction for an assessment to identify their driving needs – from wing mirror adapters to an elevated driving seat – the Forum’s here to help and signpost you to the people to help. The Forum is a not-for-profit organisation made up of experts in road safety – from representatives from the emergency services, to charities, local authorities and businesses specialising in keeping older people on the road.

The chair and founder of the Older Drivers Forum Rob Heard said “We are excited and proud to support Project Edwards quest to make the roads safer for all. We can all become complacent about our driving and often pick up bad habits, which if not addressed can increase our risk of an incident on the roads. This week of webinars will help give advice on a number of subjects from Confidence building appraisals, Safe driving tips, Electric vehicles and driving with various medical conditions. We have a special webinar on Thursday afternoon hosted by Valerie Singleton OBE on Dash cams, which is one not to miss. We have 1000 free places, so make sure you book early to reserve your place.

I am looking forward to welcoming you again to our webinars. We have had great feedback from previous ones we have run, one person who attended said ‘Extremely useful and informative. This is definitely one of the better webinars I’ve attended over the past few months, both in presentation and content.’ 

The webinars are FREE and have expert speakers as well as participants being able to ask questions. People will need to register their place for each webinar and this can be done by clicking here. We have increased the number of places available this time to 1000 free places, so should be able to accommodate anyone who wishes to register.

New – Access Guide to motorway service areas

Highways England

Highways England, are encouraging everyone to plan their journeys before setting off and appreciate that for some people this isn’t as easy as for others. With disabled drivers representing five per cent of the driving population, they have introduced a new service to break down barriers and help people reliably plan and feel confident about their journeys.

Highways England has partnered with AccessAble, the UK’s leading provider of detailed accessibility information, to help motorists plan where to stop for a break at any one of the 114 motorway service areas across England, for better, safer journeys.

For many years, disabled people and carers using AccessAble have said how much they would value having access guides for motorway services, and what a difference comprehensive accessibility information would make to planning a trip.

The new guides, available online or via the free AccessAble app, are 100 per cent facts, figures, and photographs to help motorists plan their visit. They cover key areas including parking, toilets, petrol stations, shops, and restaurants, with detailed information on everything from staff training and hearing loops, to walking distances and Changing Places.

In addition, the two organisations have worked together to create virtual route guides. This new type of guide, which uses 360-degree imagery, will enable visitors to ‘virtually’ explore routes to key facilities like accessible toilets and Changing Places, so they can find out exactly what to expect when they arrive.

Highways England encourages everyone to plan their journeys before setting off and for some people this isn’t as easy as for others. With disabled drivers representing five per cent of the driving population, the access guides are one of many new services Highways England is introducing to break down barriers and help people reliably plan and feel confident about their journeys.

Q&A 

Q: What aspects of accessibility do the guides cover? 

A: AccessAble specializes in producing pan-disability access guides which cover all areas of accessibility. We’ve worked with them to ensure the access guides for motorway services help as many people as possible plan where to take a break for a better, safer journey. Each guide contains over 1000 individual elements of accessibility information; from descriptions of accessible parking and toilets, to details on electric charging facilities and opening times.

Over 21 years of engagement with hundreds of disability groups across the UK has informed what information goes in to each guide, so that they address a full spectrum of access requirements. 

Q: How will the guides be kept up-to-date?

 A: The guides will be reviewed on an annual basis. Each motorway service area will be contacted every year to find out changes that have occurred. The sites will then be revisited by AccessAble surveyors to capture updates for the guides.

There’s also a ‘Something Changed?’ button on every access guide, where users can feedback if they find any changes when visiting the site.

Q: How/where can people access the guides?

A: You can find the access guides on the AccessAble website – http://www.accessable.co.uk – and the AccessAble app, available for free on IOS and Android. Search ‘Motorway Service’. Links to the guides are also included on the Highways England website, as well as the websites of all motorway service area operators, including Moto, Roadchef, Extra and Welcome Break.

Q: How many disabled road users are there in England?

A: According to the Department of Work and Pensions, 22% of people report having a disability. Many of these use the road network either as drivers, passengers, or both. Disabled drivers represent 5% of the driving population, which equates to approximately two million people.

Source: An accessible road network? Disabled user experience on England’s motorways and major ‘A’ roads

Q: What is Highways England’s role when it comes to roadside facilities?

A: The Department for Transport (DfT) sets the policy for the provision of roadside facilities and the services they need to provide. Highways England supports the planning process for roadside facilities, provides the road signs for them and supports the DfT in managing the policy.

 Q: Is Highways England responsible for improving roadside services?

All motorway service areas and other roadside facilities are private businesses. We work collaboratively with the operators and providers of these facilities to help improve experiences for all people visiting them while travelling on our network.

Roadside facilities, such as motorway service areas, provide a safe place to stop and take a break while travelling on England’s roads. We recognise and value the safety, ease of access and diverse customer choices that all roadside facilities provide.

Q: Why has Highways England funded these guides?

A: With more than four million journeys taking place daily on our network, our roads play a vital part in everyone’s lives. We want to make sure every person gets to where they want to go, safely and reliably. Being able to stop and take a break on a journey is an important part of this.

Whilst motorway services are generally very accessible for our customers, the access needs of our disabled customers can be very varied and specific to their individual circumstances. These guides will help our customers identify the services that best meet their access requirements and plan their rest breaks accordingly. This will help all our customers have safer, more stress-free journeys.

Q: What has been the role of MSA operators in developing these guides?

A: All of the operators have been involved from the start of the project. The role of the operators has been to assist AccessAble surveyors gain access to each MSA in order to survey and produce the access guides. The operators have also provided information for their landing pages on AccessAble, and are adding links to their own websites directly to the access guides so that everyone can find the guides as easily as possible.