‘Drivers Skills Scheme 60+’ featured on BBC

BBC News

‘Without my car… I’d feel like I’ve been abandoned’ Click here to view

There are 4.9 million drivers over the age of 70 in the UK.

Currently those aged over 70 have to reapply for a licence every three years but there is no physical test involved. In 2015, Polly’s friend, Ian Massey, died after he was knocked down by an elderly driver who was driving the wrong way up a dual carriageway in Leicestershire.

In the wake of Ian’s death, Polly, who is 75 years old, has decided to voluntarily take a driving assessment which will determine how safe she is on the road and whether she can continue driving. If she fails, Polly will lose her independence as she says her inability to drive will leave her “trapped in” her house and cut-off from the world.

To view this film which gives an good overview of the scheme Click here


New Driving Mobility video aims to boost safety for older drivers

A NEW VIDEO, has been launched by Driving Mobility, aims to help older drivers stay safe at the wheel for as long as possible.

The new video, produced with funding from the GEM Motoring Assist Road Safety Charity, follows a senior driver through the initial consultation and pre-drive assessment and out onto the road, where he drives a pre-arranged route covering various road types. It also sets out the ways in which the Driving Mobility centres across the UK can assess someone’s fitness to drive, as well as addressing any issues that might put someone at higher risk of a collision.

Ed Passant, chief executive of Driving Mobility, said the video gave a clear picture of what a an older driver could expect from an assessment. “Drivers will know exactly what to expect when visiting any of our 16 centres, and I believe the video ably demonstrates our primary purpose, which is to support people to stay driving safely for as long as possible.”

Identifying individual issues and needs is key to keeping an older motorist safe, according to Sergeant Rob Heard of Hampshire Police, who established the award-winning Older Drivers Forum in 2013. It’s also vital that drivers – and their loved ones – are aware of the resources available to help them.

“This video is designed to provide useful information for drivers who need to attend an assessment at a driving mobility centre,” Rob Heard explains.  “At the same time it should help drivers put aside any worries they may have about the assessment and what will be expected of them.

“Some drivers keen to ensure they remain as safe as possible will book and pay for an assessment themselves; others may attend following a referral from a doctor, other health professional or the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

“We’re keen to show that a driver assessment is not something to be dreaded, and in the majority of cases is a very positive and worthwhile exercise, where any safety issues can be resolved. Sometimes further tuition will be recommended, and very occasionally  – because of safety concerns – it might be necessary to advise against further driving. But the aim, wherever possible, is to keep people driving safer for longer.”

Neil Worth, road safety officer for GEM Motoring Assist, says the video does an excellent job in reducing any anxiety a senior motorist may be feeling before attending this type of assessment. “If there were evidence that older drivers were more likely to cause collisions, then the Government would have restricted their licences or insisted on compulsory re-training by now.

“There is no evidence of this, however we do know that older drivers can struggle in situations where they have to make quick decisions, or where their ability to see all round is restricted. We also know that any injuries suffered by an older person in a collision will be more serious, simply because of increasing frailty.

“There are many solutions to these difficulties, not all of them appropriate for every driver. That’s why Driving Mobility centre assessments, with their focus on the needs of individual senior drivers, are true road safety winners. Thanks to this new video, any concerns that might go with such an assessment are sure to be greatly reduced.”

Older Drivers Task Force

Task ForceHampshire Constabulary’s groundbreaking drive supporting older motorists to stay safe on our roads has today (JULY 4) reached the House of Commons.

Road Safety Sergeant Rob Heard will join leading experts from across the country in London today to recommend an action plan that will help make older drivers safer for longer.

With an ageing population, the Older Drivers Task Force believes it vital to take steps to give older drivers the support and confidence they need to ensure they retain their independence, while dismantling the stigma wrongly attached to elderly motorists.

The key recommendation announced today is to raise the age for when older motorists have to make the mandatory self-declaration that they are still fit to drive from 70 to 75.

However, this should only be implemented if proof of an eye sight test is made compulsory.

These recommendations form part of the Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age report, which sets out a national older driver strategy.

Police data suggests that older drivers are less likely to be involved in crashes than young drivers. They are, however, more fragile and four times more likely to die or be seriously injured in a road accident.

More than 25 experts and organisations in transport, health, policing licensing, car manufacturing and insurance joined forces to produce the report, which has seven key recommendations.

To see the full report, Click Here

Recommendations include:

1. Raising the automatic requirement for drivers to notify the DVLA at age 70 of any medical condition affecting driving to 75 – if the requirement for an eye sight test is made compulsory

2. Requiring the DVLA to get evidence of an eyesight test at licence renewal

3. Asking a consumer body to prepare specific advice on modern car safety features that are of special significance for older drivers – and consider “silver” NCAP-style assessment

4. Improving road design, signs and markings to meet the highest international standards specifically to aid older drivers but bringing benefits for all drivers

5. Evaluating existing driving appraisal courses and improving information provided to older drivers, their families, and medical professionals

6. Piloting new products which offer an alternative to driving for older people.

7. Pooling insurer data and research into major claims involving older drivers to understand the detailed causes.

IMG00014-20160704-1614Sergeant Rob Heard has played an instrumental role in improving support for older drivers, setting up the innovative Older Drivers Forum in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, back in June 2013.

Since then it has won celebrity backing from journalists John Sergeant and Jennie Bond.

The work by the forum locally has also been recognised by the report, which has also called for a National Older Drivers Awareness week, something that has been run in Hampshie and the Isle of Wight over the last three years. The next once starts on September 26.

Sgt Heard said: “I have been proud to be part of this national task force and share the great work we have been doing in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight to support older drivers with our Older Drivers Forum partnership.

“I feel that should the recommendations be agreed then we will go a long way to help and support the mature motorist to carry on driving safely for longer in our ageing population

“The Older Drivers Forum in Hampshire and the Isle of Wight has already helped in supporting and guiding the older motorists and other interested parties in keeping safe on the road.

“The forum is 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.

“Whether that’s helping giving practical and informative help and support to continue driving or pointing older drivers in the right direction for an assessment to identify their driving needs’.

The task force, welcomed by the Government, is managed by the Road Safety Foundation and supported by Ageas, the leading insurer of older drivers.

John Plowman, chairman of the Older Drivers Task Force, said: “Our aim is to help older people drive safely for longer by changing our culture.

“A key precondition is that older motorists should be medically fit to drive and seek advice when a limiting condition develops or gets worse, but age itself should not be a barrier to safe driving.

“Encouraging voluntary, confidential driving appraisals so that they become the norm not a stigma and helping older drivers understand and use the latest safety-driven vehicle technology will make a big difference.

“People are living longer, healthier, more active lives, and driving longer. The number of drivers over 85 will double to 1 million by 2025, many without access to public transport. This influx of older drivers has important economic and social value but it also presents road safety risks if we don’t adapt.

“Getting to grips with these risks, without limiting the independence and freedoms of the elderly is an important policy challenge – one to be tackled by the appointment of a minister with responsibility for older drivers.” 

New national Older Drivers web site


Following the great success of our web site in Hampshire and Isle of Wight we identified a need for a national Older Drivers web site to give advice and support to all nationally. We have therefore worked with RoSPA to offer help and support in creating a National Web site called ‘Older Drivers’. As you can see it uses the same logo design as ours. Our web site will remain as we offer local information and news to our area, however we may cut down some bits to avoid repetition. Why not explore the new national web site at www.olderdrivers.org.uk

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 an individual is no longer able to drive safely.

One of the functions of the website is to signpost people to driver assessment providers in their area. The user can click on the map, or the list of areas, click here to see this map and find courses covering the whole country.

Older Drivers Forum on BBC One Show

On Wednesday 9th December the BBC One Show will feature the Older Drivers Forum hosting an event in Fleet. The event was attended by Jennie Bond and John Sergeant who both went out on a Driving Appraisal to brush up their skills with the Hampshire County Council ‘Driver Skills 60+’ programme. Jennie and John really found the appraisal benefited them to become happier and safer drivers.

Graham Mylward from Hampshire County Council conducted Jennie’s and John’s appraisal and will be appearing on the One Show as well.

If you would like to undertake an appraisal, then visit our courses page to find the right one for your needs.

Sgt Rob Heard with Jennie Bond and John Sergeant

Sgt Rob Heard with Jennie Bond and John Sergeant

Graham Mylward with Jennie Bond and John Sergeant

Graham Mylward with Jennie Bond and John Sergeant

Older Drivers Forum gets Nationally recognised

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

Receiving Commendation

Receiving Commendation

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.’

_ROB7942‘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.

Receiving the Certificate

Older Drivers Forum Chair gets National award

Sgt Rob Heard - Chair of Older Drivers Forum - with Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh

Sgt Rob Heard – Chair of Older Drivers Forum – with Hampshire Chief Constable Andy Marsh

It is with great pride that we announce that our Older Drivers Forum chair, Sgt Rob Heard, has after years of dedication to keeping the people of Hampshire and the Isle of Wight safe on our roads has been awarded the ACPO and Police Federation Outstanding Contribution to Roads Policing Award 2014.

Rob, who has worked within the Roads Policing Unit for 22 years and is currently the force lead on road safety, was presented with the award on Thursday night (January 15) in recognition of his work creating and establishing the Older Drivers Forum.

Chief Constable Andy Marsh said: “I am very proud of the work Rob has done in helping to keep older drivers stay on the road, safely”.

At some stage, we ourselves will be older drivers, and most of us know older drivers now. This forum and its website are a fantastic resource to help inform and reassure. This award is very well deserved recognition.”

The Older Drivers Forum was set up in 2013 with the aim of keeping older drivers safely on the roads for longer, and helping relatives and carers deal with the issues that can be associated with older drivers.

The forum was Rob’s idea, and he has worked tirelessly to liaise with partner agencies including local authorities, health, Age Concern and Age UK, Hampshire Fire and Rescue Service, Forum of Mobility Centres and Institute of Advance Motorists to co-ordinate its many activities and support services.

It is basically about raising awareness of the services available to drivers aged 60 plus to help keep them driving safely for longer, and to encourage people to have regular eye-sight tests and, especially, take voluntary assessments to help build confidence and understand whether they remain fit to drive”.

The forum can also provide assessments to check, following a collision, whether a person is safe or not to continue and, where appropriate, signpost refresher training. There are currently just over four million people aged 70 and above driving on the UK’s roads, the oldest person to hold a driving licence is a man aged 106″.

Research predicts that, with people living longer, these numbers will double if not treble in the next 20 years”.

“I feel greatly honoured to have received this award. It feels a bit like winning an Oscar in the roads policing world. I would like to dedicate this award to Neil Colquhoun and his mother Patricia, who were the inspiration behind the creation of the forum”.

“Neil tragically died in a collision in 2011 when an 89-year-old man drove the wrong way for over a mile along the A30 at Old Basing. His car collided head-on with Neil’s. Neil died at the scene and our investigation found that the 89-year-old man was blind in one eye and below the legal eyesight limit in the other. However, he felt he was genuinely fit to drive. From that, we came up with the idea of the forum, and we hope by doing so we can prevent another tragedy like this. We are not about taking people off the road – we are about trying to help people keep their independence and carry on driving safely, for longer.”

In the 18 months since it was established, the forum’s website has had in excess of 20,000 hits and is used as a resource nationally. It has also run two weeks of awareness events across both counties which have been attended by more than 1000 people.

Rob is also now a national lead on older driver issues and is helping the Department for Transport and Road Safety Foundation develop national strategy in this growing area.