Driving instructor encourages older motorists to remain vigilant, continually review abilities and licences

STAY SAFE: Online poll results show Cootamundra residents are becoming increasingly worried about driver conduct in the region.

STAY SAFE: Online poll results show Cootamundra residents are becoming increasingly worried about driver conduct in the region.

A Cootamundra driving instructor has encouraged older drivers to remain vigilant and continually renew their licences.

It comes as community members spoke out against unsafe drivers in the region last week

An ensuing online poll found 58 per cent of residents noticed more incidents of dangerous driving in recent times. 

Issues such as driving without lights, speeding through school zones and not indicating through roundabouts were raised via social media.

However, the most contentious issue put forward concerned the ability of ageing drivers in the area. 

Some residents, including Daniel Hawkes, have cast doubts over elderly drivers and believe many are not driving at a reasonable standard.

“I see many elderly drivers not indicating before attempting (certain) manouveres or at roundabouts,” Mr Hawkes said.

Situations depend on whether a licence is modified or not, but it is incumbent upon the older driver to do lessons or go to the RTA when reviewing their abilities - Driving instructor and assessor David Blackwell

“Yes, I do see … all ages crossing double lines, however, I mainly see elderly drivers disregarding common sense road rules.”

Renown geriatrician David Lussier has previously suggested elderly drivers are an at-risk driving demographic and with the Australian Bureau of Statistics estimating the number of drivers over 60 could double by 2030, the spotlight could fall upon older motorists in the region.

Despite this, Cootamundra has no recently reported incidents of elderly driver infringement and T n D Driving School instructor David Blackwell believes older drivers are keeping up to scratch with ongoing practice.

“I still get a reasonable number of assessments for elderly drivers and we can modify tests and lessons into training if necessary,” Mr Blackwell said.

The qualified assessor said the onus nevertheless falls upon older motorists to ensure their licences and abilities are up to scratch when seated behind the wheel. 

“Situations depend on whether a licence is modified or not, but it is incumbent upon the older driver to do lessons or go to the RTA when reviewing their abilities,” he said.

NSW Roads & Maritime guidelines dictate drivers aged between 75-84 must undergo a yearly medical review to keep their licence while driver aged 85 and older are required to either complete a driving test or take out a modified licence (restricting drivers to certain times and areas).

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