Keeping older drivers safe behind the wheel

Buckinghamshire Council recently welcomed a group of older drivers and family members to an event to help them find out how they can continue to stay safe and confident behind the wheel.

The event, hosted by a range of council teams and in partnership with other organisations including Thames Valley Police and Specsavers opticians, took place at Hartwell Nurseries in Aylesbury on Thursday 18 May. It supports the national Project EDWARD initiative which campaigns on road safety.

Older drivers are one of the most at-risk groups behind the wheel, along with young drivers, motorcyclists and people who drive for work. Research has shown that in our mid-70s, drivers start to have problems assessing complex or high-speed traffic situations. The number of older drivers is growing year on year and the number of collisions involving older drivers has also increased.

To help drivers aged 70 and over, stay safe and confident when driving, the council promotes a range of initiatives. In addition to having regular eyesight tests and checking any medication you are on does not affect your driving, one of the easiest ways to get some assistance is to book a Mature Driver Assessment. This offers the opportunity for drivers to discuss any concerns they may have with a qualified driving assessor who can offer advice and reassurance. It can help older drivers to gain a greater awareness of the types of roads and situations where they may be more likely have a collision. The aim is to ensure a driver is safe to be driving on the roads, and if not, identify what can be done to help.

Steven Broadbent, Buckinghamshire Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport explained: “Most older drivers have years of experience on the road and are extremely capable and confident behind the wheel. However, there are a number of issues that can affect drivers as they age and events like this one are designed to make drivers aware of them and highlight the support and assistance available.”

Steven continued: “Our Mature Driving Assessments are designed to support those who wish to continue driving but may lack confidence or simply need some reassurance. We are aware that if an older driver loses their licence then they may also lose their ability to socialise and can become very isolated, which can lead to many problems, so our scheme aims to support drivers as they age, to keep them driving for as long as they can safely do so or want to.”

Teams at the event spoke to more than 100 attendees and 12 people signed up for a driving assessment on the day with many others taking​ away forms to complete.

Buckinghamshire Council has been running mature driving assessments since 2011. In addition, a free online module is available for older drivers and their families. The module covers many issues, including eyesight, medication, fatigue, distractions, journey planning, information about vehicle adaptions and licencing.​ There are also hazard perception videos to practice scanning techniques and additional modules on speed management and winter driving

​The module takes about 15 minutes to complete and is free to access.

View more information on Mature Driving Assessments, our online modules and the other support available.