A former professional driver has become the 100th person to complete Durham County Council’s Safer Driving with Age (SAGE) driving assessment.
The SAGE assessment helps older motorists maintain and improve their driving abilities so that they can keep using their vehicles for as long as it is safe for them to do so.
Terence Otter decided to take the SAGE programme, which is run by the council’s road safety team, because he wanted an impartial opinion of his driving ability after he turned 80 years of age.
Mr Otter said: “I have been driving constantly since I was 17. I still love it but wanted to make sure I wasn’t getting a bit rusty.
“I made a couple of silly mistakes during the assessment but otherwise it went well and it really helped to have someone else point out what I was doing right and what I needed to work on.
“I would urge anyone over the age of 55 or 60 to sign up for the programme and let someone who really knows what they’re talking about help you make sure you’re driving safely and as well as you can.”
Linda Glendinning, who assessed Mr Otter, said: “The SAGE programme is a great way of making sure that, as motorists get older, any problems or habits that might develop in their driving style are addressed.
“The assessments also give older drivers reassurance that their driving ability is up to our ever-changing roads. Statistically from the age of 55 our risk on the road increases and taking part in this simple assessment is a really effective way to help reduce that risk.”
The SAGE driving assessment programme costs £15 and is available to residents of County Durham and Darlington aged 55 years and over. At the end of the 40-minute drive the assessor gives the client feedback on how it went and puts a report together.
Paul Watson, Durham County Council’s road safety manager, said: “This is an extremely worthwhile scheme which has proved very successful in boosting confidence among older motorists and helping to make sure they can continue to drive safely for as long as possible.”