SAGE assessment provides reassurance for octogenarian
An 84-year-old from County Durham is proving that age is no barrier when it comes to good driving after successfully passing an eighth driving assessment in the last decade.
Following his latest effort, John Turner from Consett has now completed Durham County Council’s Safer Driving with Age (SAGE) assessment five years in a row.
There is an ongoing debate in road safety circles about whether older drivers should face an assessment, or even have to retake their driving test, when they reach a certain age.
In February, an IAM RoadSmart survey suggested that the majority of older drivers are in favour of tighter rules on checking their driving capabilities, even if those checks could take them off the road.
Durham’s SAGE programme is aimed at drivers aged 55 years and over and comprises a 40-minute assessment with a specially trained driving instructor. At the end of the session, the assessor will talk through the drive and highlight good practice and identify any areas for improvement.
Around 60 assessments are carried out each year and Durham County Council says many over 55s return every 12 months to retake the assessment.
John Turner said: "My wife and I used to share the driving but she gave up a few years ago so I do it all now. Completing the SAGE assessment each year reassures her that I'm still a safe driver.
"It's also good to get an impartial view on your driving abilities because a lot of people think older motorists are less safe."
Since SAGE was launched over a decade ago, more than 1,000 assessments have been completed.
Paul Watson, Durham County Council’s road safety manager, said: "The SAGE assessment has been designed to help people maintain independence and keep on driving for as long as it is safe to do so.
"Many older drivers including Mr Turner gain huge benefits from completing it.
"The fact so many people take part also shows how responsible our older drivers are in ensuring the safety of themselves and others when at the wheel."