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Gloucestershire Business News

Difficult conversations for older drivers

Older people are not just one of the groups most isolated by lockdown but also the most at risk on Gloucestershire's roads once lockdown lifts.

That is according to Gloucestershire's Older Drivers Forum, which suggests drivers have become more at risk of serious collisions as they age due to added pressures from the Covid-19 lockdown.

The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is working alongside Gloucestershire Constabulary and the forum as part of its commitment to Safe and Social Roads via free online webinars later this month offering support to families concerned about older relatives driving.

Police and Crime Commissioner Martin Surl said: "This important campaign bridges two priorities in my latest Police and Crime Plan: Safe and Social Roads, and Older but Not Overlooked.

"Driving offers freedom and independence, so the decision to stop driving can be a difficult and divisive one.

"We hope this campaign will encourage families to start having those difficult conversations and will provide support to older drivers who want to re-build their confidence behind the wheel after a lockdown break."

The Older Drivers Forum aims to support older drivers and their families to help keep them on the road safely and for longer.

Founder Nigel Lloyd-Jones said: "Older people across Gloucestershire are perhaps some of the most vulnerable in society when it comes to lockdown. But, unlike other age groups, the risks increase as lockdown eases.

"A lack of practise behind the wheel, combined with declining mental and physical health, and backlogs in medical check-ups and sight testing result in a dangerous cocktail for older drivers.

"This is why we're offering webinars to help support people to remain behind the wheel safely and also to help them spot the signs if they need to stop."

The Zoom webinars run from 6-7pm on November 17 and 19 and noon-1pm on November 21 with registration available here

Chief Inspector for Specialist Operations Alistair Barby said: "We understand the impact and importance that driving gives to people, in particular the older members of our community.

"We are committed to ensuring the safety of all road users and are therefore really keen to ensure that support is given to all those who may be termed older drivers (and their families) in order to promote safety for all road users."

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