Somerset

Safety course helps older drivers in Somerset

A new course to teach older drivers road safety has been set up as the number of fatalities involving drivers aged over 60 has increased.

In 2010, 12 people were killed, up from five in 2008. Serious injuries have also nearly doubled.

Poor eye sight, hearing and mobility are factors which have contributed to older people being involved in crashes.

Former road traffic officer Terry Beale said some drivers may not have taken a driving test for 50 years.

'Cars have changed'

He said: "Cars have changed, regulations have changed. There are a lot of things that are different and if these people haven't undergone further training, then there are things that they may be missing out on.

"The causes (of accidents) are not necessarily always the older driver however, where the older driver is at fault, we have identified a number of issues in relation to health and concentration which we need to look at and deal with."

The course is free and open to anyone aged over 60. It is organised by Somerset Road Safety Partnership and will take place in Taunton on Wednesday.

Participants will have the opportunity to drive with a qualified instructor who will point out areas which they need to improve on.

Mr Beale said the course was not intended to prevent people driving.

"It has nothing to do with trying to take them off the road or take their driving licence away, it's the exact opposite - to reduce casualties and allow them to drive safer for longer."

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