Senior drivers gain free driving lessons thanks to program
After a number of road accidents involving seniors, Ipswich police have conducted a number of road safety refresher sessions for Lockyer and Somerset locals over three weeks.
Road rules, safety tips, towing advice and making the transition to mobility scooters was covered over the three sessions in March, with participants saying they wished they had done the course earlier.
Ipswich district crime prevention officer sergeant Nadine Webster facilitated the three sessions at the Somerset Civic Centre at Esk and said feedback from seniors had been great.
“It’s been a great turn out however I wish more seniors had taken the opportunity,” sergeant Webster said.
Thirteen seniors participated in all three of the sessions at Esk, entitling them to a free one-hour driving lesson with an approved driving school.
One of the participants told the Gatton Star she thought “a lot more people should have come”.
“It’s been a great little refresher. Many of the road rules have changed since we got our licences,” one participant said.
“Could we do it again,” another asked sergeant Webster.
Many of the seniors had questions about roundabouts and the rules on indicating when entering and exiting, which were clarified by sergeant Webster and instructors from the Department of Transport and Main Roads.
Sergeant Webster said the reason for holding the session was due to the sad reality that seniors were involved in road accidents at higher rates.
The statistics were that drivers aged over 60 made up 24.5 per cent of licence holders, however they accounted for approximately 32.6 per cent of road fatalities.
There was also sessions on when seniors should “hand in” their licence and transition to other modes of transportation.
Sergeant Webster stressed the idea of the program was “not to be taking away drivers licences but to support people making that decision” and said there was “no pass and fail” part of the program.
“It’s really just to support our seniors,” sergeant Webster said.
The program was an initiative of the Ipswich Crime Prevention Unit in partnership with Neighbourhood Watch Queensland and Australasia, Ipswich PCYC ‘Breaking the Cycle’ Program, Able Australia, Queensland Department of Transport and Main Roads and Pro Drive Ipswich.
More stories by Hugh Suffell.