LETTERS From Richard Gully, Wootton:
IN the County Press (20-09-13) I noticed an invitation to attend an Older Drivers’ Forum at Ryde Fire Station on September 28.
I felt, at 74, this was an opportunity that must not be missed, having passed my original test in 1956.
The forum involved all emergency services, the IW Council, driving improvement organisations and road safety groups.
During the visit we met police, opticians for eye testing, a very brave lady who had lost her son to an old driver who should not have been driving and, finally, a fire officer who offered a free driving assessment which I decided, with reservations, to take.
As there was a waiting list, I was offered November 13, however on October 17, the assessor arrived at my address and offered an assessment drive.
There was no time to prepare and it was straight in the car and drive in my normal manner.
My assessor was a tester of drivers in the fire service and advanced drivers so my failures would be exposed.
The drive proceeded to Newport and returned to Wootton. While I was conscious of the assessment, I was put at ease by the assessor and the drive was completed in half an hour.
Then followed a review of a comprehensive check list ranging from excellent to bad. I met most of the top marks, but, for example, I was recommended to make more use of the mirrors.
A very pleasing result and experience, but no room for complacency.
The Drivers’ Forum and assessment is an excellent initiative towards road safety and should be supported by drivers of advanced age, where the on-set of progressive limitations and bad habits can develop unnoticed or rejected for fear of being stopped driving.
Remember, once over 70 the DVLA require one to make a self declaration and in doing so take responsibility for our suitability to drive.
In the latter part of life who wants death or injury to others or ourself on our conscience.
My thanks for this opportunity to assess my driving, I strongly recommend it to others of my age range.