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 David Clark & his talk is entitled 'Older Driver Refresher Training'


David was for many years a driving instructor & now works for North Yorkshire County Council in the Driver Training Division based at Northallerton.   He currently gives advice to younger drivers, older drivers & those with special needs.   The aim of the training is to keep older drivers on the road safely for as long as possible.    His talk about the areas of driving that require attention as one gets older was illustrated by his own personal experiences.


Times have changed dramatically in the lifetime of many Probus members. In 1935 there were some 1 Vi million vehicles on British roads & more than 8,000 road users died per year. By 2009 the number of vehicles had risen to 34.2 million but the number of deaths had declined to 2,222.    Part of this improvement can be attributed to improvements in cars; for example, disc brakes, anti-skid brakes, radial tires, independent suspension. Other improvements to mitigate the effects of an accident have been seat belts, air bags & crumple zones to absorb energy in a collision. Advances in medical treatment have further reduced the death toll.


Regrettably, the major cause of 95% of accidents remains driver error. David emphasised that eliminating mistakes requires concentration, awareness & anticipation. We often drive automatically on 'autopilot' while thinking of other things. It is essential to keep alert for the unexpected.  Driving correctly may not prevent a collision if someone else makes a mistake. It is worth remembering that 'right or wrong it is your accident'. Driving at an inappropriate speed is a factor in many accidents. Unless indicated otherwise, inbuilt up areas the speed limit is 30mph; on single carriageway roads it is 60mph & on dual carriageway roads & motorways it is 70mph.  Adhering to these limits prevents fines & points on the driving licence as well as improving safety.  

Compliance is increasingly important as one ages since reaction time increase with age. Road signs are being continually changed & updated. It is good practice to read the current Highway Code to familiarise oneself with the latest formats. Another factor which is common in accidents is tiredness. Taking a break after driving for two hours helps maintain alertness.

 A common problem as one gets older is deteriorating eyesight. It is a legal requirement that drivers can read a number plate at a distance of 20 metres. The penalty for driving without adequate vision can be a fine of £1,000 & 3 points on the driving licence. It is prudent to have an eye test regularly. After the age of 70 the licence has to be renewed every three years. At this renewal a declaration that one is medically fit to drive must be made. Although it may be tempting to lie to retain one's independent mobility, making a false declaration is a serious offence as well as being unsafe for other road users & oneself.

There is a one hour course of instruction for older drivers available from North Yorkshire County Council, which is free at present.  Mr Clark distributed leaflets with contact details for this course & other sources of information


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