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John Smith, 85, is having a go at GOLD (Guidance for OLder Drivers), a road safety campaign to help keep older drivers safer Pictured with Terry Plummer from Norfolk County Council Picture: James Bass
By RICHARD WOOD
Monday, February 11, 2013
It’s a campaign aimed at building the confidence of older drivers on the road and ensuring they’re safe.
GOLD (Guidance for OLder Drivers) has been running for a few years, but since a relaunch two weeks ago the scheme, for those over 55, has had more than 80 enquiries.
One of those was 85-year-old John Smith, of Ditchingham, near Bungay, who signed himself up to an hour-long driver development session.
Mr Smith said: “It is aimed at elderly people and you can easily get into bad habits, so it seemed silly not to take advantage.”
Instructor Terry Plummer went to Mr Smith’s house and sat as a passenger as Mr Smith used his own car for the session.
“He asked me where I usually go, so we went to Beccles and he watched me,” said Mr Smith. “I’m 85 and lots of people in their 70s might be dubious about the assessment, but it’s not like that. It was not too nerve-wracking as it was not a strange route. I took my usual drive and all he wanted to know about was my general driving.” Instructor Mr Plummer said Mr Smith did well, and gave him a couple of suggestions to put into practice.
Mr Plummer said: “We look at their driving and make recommendations, to make them safer, more economical and comfortable. If there are problems, we look at helping people to overcome them.”
The sessions are part of Norfolk County Council’s Keep Your Mind on the Road campaign.
Iain Temperton, team manager for casualty reduction at the council, said: “In Norfolk we have a growing elderly population. Older drivers are not any more dangerous, but as there is a growing population we need to be aware.
“What we offer is advice and guidance to help people keep driving safer for longer. We don’t sit with a clipboard tutting.”
The session is £29 and drivers can apply themselves or be referred. Call 0344 800 8020 or email firstname.lastname@example.org