Safety / Independence & Fulfillment Article:

Too cool for driving school?
Popular program shows driver’s ed still relevant for people 50+

July 2, 2008

By Jason Erskine, AARP Washington

Some motorists have never looked back since they first got their license at age 16, but participation in refresher courses like the AARP Driver Safety Program shows that even the most experienced drivers can benefit.

Since 1979, more than 12 million people have completed the Driver Safety Program.

“I have driven more than three million miles as a commercial driver. Even with that record behind me, I have to keep an open mind, refresh my skills and learn new rules of the road,” says a program graduate. “The AARP Driver Safety Program taught me a lot about normal age-related changes that I didn’t realize. I know I’m a better driver for it.”

Today about one in seven drivers is 65 or older, and the numbers will rise to one in four by 2029, when the last of the Baby Boomers turn 65.

Age-related changes—impaired vision, medications and slower reflexes and response time—affect driving skills. This course offers simple techniques that can help you retain your driving skills longer so that you can remain mobile and independent as you age.

“Ninety-five percent of our graduates tell us they change their driving behavior as a result of taking our course,” says Elinor Ginzler, AARP’s Senior Vice President of Livable Communities.

AARP Driver Safety Program courses are offered by trained volunteer instructors throughout the state. Courses are now available in both a classroom setting and online. In Washington State those who complete the eight-hour course are entitled to discounts on their car insurance.

For more information, view the AARP Driver Safety Program website or call 1-888-AARP-NOW (1-888-227-7669).