One of the groups most isolated by lockdown is also the most at risk on Gloucestershire’s roads, once lockdown lifts.
That is according to Gloucestershire’s Older Drivers Forum, which suggests that drivers are more at risk of serious collisions as they age, due to the pressures added by the Covid-19 lockdown.
As England enters its second lockdown of 2020, The Office of the Police and Crime Commissioner is working alongside Gloucestershire Constabulary and Gloucestershire Older Drivers Forum as part of its commitment to Safe and Social Roads – a priority of PCC Martin Surl’s latest Police and Crime Plan.
From Monday 16 November through to Monday 23 November 2020, the groups will host free online webinars offering support to families concerned about the driving abilities of older relatives, or for those drivers feeling like they are losing confidence behind the wheel.
Officers will also be on hand to provide driving and vehicle safety advice to older drivers during routine patrols, as well as support from the Constabulary’s neighbourhood and community engagement vehicles, which will visit vulnerable communities.
Martin Surl is Gloucestershire’s police and crime commissioner: “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. Its founder, Nigel Lloyd-Jones is also priority lead for Safe and Social Roads: “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 practice 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.”
Gloucestershire Constabulary’s Alistair Barby is Chief Inspector for Specialist Operations: “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.”
The Webinars will run be run via Zoom. Guests can register at https://olderdriversforum.com/gloucestershire-events/ for the three events taking place on:
Tuesday 17 November 2020 from 6pm – 7pm
Thursday 19 November 2020 from 6pm to 7pm
Saturday 21 November 2020 from 12pm to 1pm.