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Elderly drivers don't get traffic lights - instructor

Published: 9:08AM Tuesday March 20, 2012 Source: ONE News

A driving instructor has revealed the 'alarming' lack of knowledge some older drivers have of modern motoring rules.

Peter Sheppard says some senior motorists do not understand traffic lights or road markings, and never check their blind spots.

He told TV ONE's Breakfast he has been shocked by what he has found as he tours the country promoting a new driver instruction programme.

"It's quite alarming to find out these people are in situations where they don't use the parking brake, they don't understand traffic lights they don't do head checks - turning the head around to check the blind spot," he told TV ONE's Breakfast.

When drivers turn 75 they are required to pass a medical, and renew their licence every few years.

A GP will test their hearing and eye-sight, and if they fail these tests they will not be able to drive.

However, Sheppard said "the foot has come off the pedal" in terms of driver education in the last 30 years, and it has left some people trailing behind.

"The baby boomers who are coming through now just haven't had a lot of driver education," he said.

"Of course baby boomers want to drive in their 80s and wear their jeans, but they're not up with the play in the way we have to operate in today's modern traffic society."

Sheppard has been promoting a US scheme aimed at older drivers called CarFit, which looks to promote greater safety among older drivers.

Research conducted for the programme found that the senior age-group are less likely to take risks with their safety such as not wearing seat belts and drink-driving.

However, Sheppard said many of the drivers will still be unaware of the risks they are taking on the road, and it is up to family members to intervene.

"It's best to leave it to the individuals or families to say 'look Dad it's time to hand in the keys'".

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