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North Yorkshire road safety is stepping up a gear.


8:21am 7th January 2011
(Updated 12:00am 8th January 2011)

More than 40 per cent of  people in North Yorkshire are 50 or over.  The number of 60 to 65 year olds increased by 35 per cent in the past decade.  Making sure they stay safe on the roads is the aim of a campgin by North Yorkshire County Council  -  part of the 95 Alive the Road Safety Partnership - to offer help and advice for to drivers over 50. 

Some 1,650 older drivers have been helped through a series of roadshows held around the county.  Three further roadshows are being held in January.

Older drivers are more likely to be tolerant and confident on the roads and generally have fewer collisions.  But their sight, hearing and reaction times may not be as sharp as they used to be.  Driving is more complex and demanding than it has ever been.

The roadshows organised by North Yorkshire County Council, in partnership with the 95 Alive York and North Yorkshire Road Safety Partnership were launched last year.   They are free to drivers who are over 50 and are funded through the Government Road Safety Grant. The aim is to improve confidence and driving behaviour, to make getting behind the wheel stress free and safer.

Alan Morrow from Sherburn in Elmet who has been driving for over 50 years attended a recent roadshow he says:

  “I found the whole event very beneficial and it has given me the confidence to continue driving"

“I started driving in 1959 and things were a lot different then.  The presentation highlights the changes in law and how easy it is to fall foul of it without realising and I think most people would learn a lot by coming to one of these workshops.  There are no catches, just lots of encouragement”.

Three more roadshows are planned during January … at Helmsley Methodist Church Hall, Ashdale Road,   Saturday January 8;  Easingwold Galtres Centre, Market Square, January 15; and Leyburn Methodist Church Hall, Railway Street, January 29.

The roadshows run from 9.30am to 1.30pm.  There is no need to book – just drop in at a time to suit, but allow enough time to attend a presentation to refresh memories and driving skills. These are given at 09.45 and 11.30am.  There is also the opportunity to browse around the display stands and undergo a free mini eye check, try a driving simulator, a brake reaction tester and get advice on health matters and medication.

There’s also the chance to register for a free one hour refresher drive with an approved driving instructor to be taken after the event.  More than 500 older motorists have taken up the drive so far.

North Yorkshire County Councillor Gareth Dadd, Executive member for Road Safety says:

” Older drivers have a wealth of experience but may be a little bit rusty and by taking care and adjusting driving habits to compensate for any deterioration in eyesight , judgement and reactions, it ‘s possible to continue driving safely and confidently for years to come. “

Debbie Spencer, Road Safety Project Officer says: 

“There’s plenty of information, tips and guidance available about how driving may have changed since they took their driving tests. 

“The events are free and open to all drivers aged 50 or above.   We get a lot of positive feedback from people who attend who say it’s very worthwhile and their driving and confidence has improved as a result of giving up a couple of hours to come along”

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