By way of introduction as a result of working with ‘seniors’ and ‘senior groups’ over a period of time around community safety and dementia I became acutely aware of a need to address the subject of ‘senior road safety’. Now at the end of nearly three years investigative work I am pleased to be launching Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group full details of which are on the web site, which is now live – SRSKent.co.uk.
In carrying out my research I found resourcing much information ’hidden’ difficult to source; amongst that sourced was ‘The Older Drivers Forum’ in Hampshire founded in 2013 by Sgt Rob Heard, a serving roads policing traffic officer; Rob is now the national police lead for senior drivers, has won a number of road safety awards, and sits on a number of important committees. In simple terms where over recent years there has been a rise in senior road accidents, in Hampshire despite having the largest senior population in any County, Hampshire’s figures have seen a decline. Currently three other Counties are following the Hampshire model, elsewhere there is a patchwork of activity or worse no involvement with senior road safety despite the increasing older (over 70) population and rising incidence of dementia which is reckoned to increase from the current affected of 1 in 14 to as much as 1 in 3, notwithstanding that seniors can be reckoned to be at four times the risk of being involved in an incident and twice as likely to die as a result.
The objective of the Kent Focus Group will be to improve awareness of dangers and issues, of which there are many, facing Kent’s older drivers, passengers, pedestrians and mobility scooter users. The web site has been designed as a ‘one stop’ information resource providing awareness of the problem areas and dangers together with important links to resources to address the issues. Interested partners and agencies are welcomed to be part the focus group – we can provide, where necessary, the awareness training of the issues for whatever aspect of senior involvement you may have as a partner agency, community worker(s) or carer(s) e.g. for those working in the field of dementia there would be ‘Dementia and Driving’ (including when it may be time to give up) – a huge and complex topic but not without avenues of help and advice.
It is intended once the initial founding Group is settled an inaugural meeting will be help and subsequently meet three or four times a year in a ‘networking’ context. Partners / agencies can work just within their particular aspect of senior road safety; Kent Focus Group now has a wealth of information on the overall subject which is available to share as well as giving talks, providing awareness training and attending events. We look forward to receiving your expression of interest or answering any queries you may have.l
Founder: Senior Road Safety – Kent Focus Group