Campaign to ensure safety of older drivers

Posted by: Cal on 29/09/2014

Category: General

If your parents are into their retirement and still driving, it might be time to take a closer look at their vehicle maintenance and ability in a bit more detail.

This is the message highlighted in a new YouTube clip published this month by the Royal Automobile Club of Queensland (RACQ). The video highlights some of the warning signs that an elderly relative is losing confidence in driving.

These signs could include missing simple tyre or engine maintenance, avoiding certain routes or only travelling at fixed times of the day.

RACQ Education Officer, David Terry explained that it was important the lines of communication are open between elderly drivers and their children to highlight any issues before they snowball.

"Many age-related and medical conditions do not mean older drivers have to stop driving altogether, quite often it may be a case of not driving at certain hours, or wearing appropriate eyewear," he said.

"If you're an older driver and you are concerns about your ability to drive, we recommend visiting your GP."

It could be helpful to stop in and offer to look over their vehicle every month to ensure it is up to standard. Another good idea would be to take the vehicle down to the local petrol station to pump up the tyres as this is a task that older drivers may struggle to perform.

In Queensland, all drivers over 75 years and those with established medical conditions are required to carry a medical certificate when driving. From a health point of view, it is important these drivers are physically able to drive a vehicle as well as to ensure the safety of other road users.

Mr Terry explained that the RACQ and state affiliates are committed to helping keep older drivers on the road for as long as possible.

"RACQ is committed to seeing every Queenslander survive their drive and have developed a number of tools to help older drivers feel more confident," he said.

"These include post-licence practical driver assessments, a self-assessment questionnaire and the Years Ahead program to assist older motorists to drive safely for longer."

RACQ suggests children of older drivers start to discuss the topic of driving and ask if they are struggling with any aspects of it. It could be as simple as helping them plan a route to the shops away from main intersections or assisting them with their vehicle maintenance.