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New tools to improve safety for senior road users

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A new set of tools aimed at keeping older road users safe on New Zealand roads is available free from today.

The NZ Transport Agency launched the Staying Safe on-line toolkit this morning - a suite of new older driver education resources to help improve road safety for people over 70 years of age. The free tools are now available at www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/senior-road-users(external link).

NZTA Road User Behaviour Manager Michael Cummins says the Staying Safe course content and supporting material are designed to help organisations provide road safety refresher workshops for older drivers.

He said a dedicated online section designed for use by individual older drivers has also launched in the same website section - which will provide interactive activities and information to help older drivers improve safety for themselves.

"For many older people driving is a key to their independence, and many seniors rely on their car to get around – for shopping, appointments or visiting friends and family. These resources are designed to help people maintain that independence while also staying safe on the road."

While older drivers don't have as many crashes as younger drivers, if they do crash they are more at risk of being seriously injured or killed. This is due to increasing physical fragility.

Mr Cummins said it was important for all drivers, regardless of age, to regularly and honestly assess their own driving capabilities to keep themselves and others safe.

"It is important to remember that the ageing process can affect a range of skills essential to driving – including eyesight, memory, decision-making and reaction times."

"The Staying Safe guidelines and supporting materials are available to any organisation that wishes to provide a refresher workshop for senior road users, and there are a number of ways workshops can be delivered. For example, councils may want to coordinate workshops and then have a provider to deliver them in their region, or a retirement village might deliver them to members in their community."

For more information on the workshops or to access the senior road user section, go to www.nzta.govt.nz/traffic/senior-road-users(external link).

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