Dorset Police is launching the ‘Older Drivers Forum’ which is designed to help keep older drivers on the road safely, for longer.
The forum has received public backing by writer Lord Julian Fellowes and is made up of experts in road safety from across Dorset, with representatives from emergency services, charities, local authorities and other specialists.
The scheme will be offering training, advice and guidance for those motorists who are keen to continue driving safely, and resources for those who feel that the time is right for them to ‘retire’ from getting behind the wheel.
With over 96,000 full driving licence holders aged over 70 in Dorset, the aim is to inform older drivers about the risks they face and ways to reduce them, help to identify when the time has come to retire from driving and offer relevant advice to older drivers, their family and friends, and those within the medical profession.
A series of launch events will take place next week, where officers from the Dorset Police traffic department as well as other members of the forum, will be on hand to speak to older members of the community and their families.
Lord Julian Fellowes, who is backing the scheme said: ‘The Older Drivers Forum is about keeping people behind the wheel for as long as they can reasonably and safely be there. The moment we should consider retiring from driving comes to all of us and it must be reassuring to learn that there are now so many alternative methods of transport available and ways to get around than there used to be, and we can help with these.
‘I think it’s hard for children, but there does come a time when it is actually loving to persuade your parent that their driving career should be drawing to a close. They have to have the strength and the love to take that through.’
Events will take place at the following locations:
• Tuesday 3 October 1000 – 1500hrs at Haskins Garden Centre, Ferndown
• Wednesday 4 October 1000 – 1500hrs at Castle Garden Centre, Sherborne
• Thursday 5 October 1000 – 1500hrs at Wyevale Garden Centre, Owermoigne
Police Constable Heidi Moxam, Road Casualty Reduction Officer for Dorset Police, said: ‘In 2016, we had 125 collisions on Dorset roads where the driver was 70 years old or over, resulting in 217 casualties, including three who sadly lost their lives.
‘It is vital we invest resources in helping older drivers to be safe on the road and provide guidance and support to those who need to consider alternative methods of transport.
‘The forum also works to provide an alternative to prosecution for low level offences where a bespoke set of circumstances suggest the driver needs further motoring and health assessments.’
The forum welcome all drivers and their families to come and meet the team at the events where representatives from Wessex Drivability, Age UK, police, fire, opticians, local authorities and many more will be on hand to offer advice.