Local News

AARP, Highway Patrol Team Up to Drive Home Safety

Posted May 16, 1999

— With age comes wisdom. But growing older also effects the way you drive. That is why the country's largest seniors group,AARP, is teaming up with theN.C. Highway Patrolin an effort to improve elderly driving.

Vision constraints and slower reaction times can affect driving ability. That is why the groups are teaming up to help make sure older drivers are safe on the road.

Wally Casting is taking the course even though he has an unbelievable driving record.

"I haven't had a moving violation or a traffic ticket in 50 years, and I don't want to break my record," he says.

Just to make sure, Casting is attending AARP's55 Alive Mature Driving Program, a refresher course offered to drivers 50 and older across the state.

The state Highway Patrol is lending a hand by helping teach the courses to aging drivers.

Older drivers spend less time on the road than younger drivers, yet on average, they are involved in more accidents.

Last year in North Carolina, drivers age 65 and older were involved in more than 27,000 crashes; 249 of them were fatal.

Officers hope the partnership in the classroom will make a difference on the road.

"It's an opportunity for us to review with the senior citizens good driving habits, and reviewing that and hopefully they'll take that over and apply that when they're out operating on the highway," says Sgt. R.E. Clendenin of the N.C. Highway Patrol.

The reason the state is giving the program the green light is that the number of older drivers hitting the road in North Carolina is increasing faster than the national average.

Formore informationon the program and locations, call AARP at888-227-7669. The two-day course costs $8.

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