Older Drivers Awareness week great success

This week we have visited 5 different venues across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight with our partners from many agencies. We gave help and support to over 1300 older drivers, advising on voluntary driving appraisals, health and well being, cyber crime and how to protect themselves from fraud and much more. We will be posting more pictures from the weeks activties in the next couple of weeks. If you missed being able to attend, then don’t worry have a look through our web site for advice.JAN_4868

Awareness Event – Isle of Wight

Have an older driver in your life, then why not get them or yourself to pop down anytime between 9.30am and 3pm to Newport Minster on Isle of Wight on Friday 6th October 2017 and get advice on Driving Safely for Longer and much more. Its free to attend and lots of great support and advice. You can’t miss it. ODF landscape adverts 2017 IOW-page-001

Awareness event – Basingstoke

Have an older driver in your life, then why not get them or yourself to pop down anytime between 9.30am and 6pm to Festival Place, Basingstoke on Thursday 5th October 2017 and get advice on Driving Safely for Longer and much more. Its free to attend and lots of great support and advice. You can’t miss it. We will be outside Marks and SpencersODF landscape adverts 2017 Basing-page-001

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.”

New national Older Drivers web site

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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 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.