Older driver scheme launches in Hawick

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An open event in Hawick next week will launch a new pilot scheme which aims to allow older people to drive safely for longer.

The event takes place on Wednesday 18 May from 10am to 3pm at Sainsbury’s Car Park on Commercial Road and will see police, fire service and driving instructors on hand to provide information and advice.

There will also be an opportunity to sign up to the Borders Driver Gold Scheme, which is initially being run in Hawick. The pilot is aimed at helping drivers over 60 years of age to update their driving skills and confidence on the road.

The scheme offers information and advice through a new booklet available from Scottish Borders Safer Communities Team.

There are also free awareness sessions taking place in June at Burnfoot Community Hub. The theory workshops are led by local driving instructors and safety officers to give attendees the chance to get a better understanding of changes to roads, traffic and laws which have taken place in recent years.

The scheme also allows older drivers to book a 90 minute practical driving session with an instructor, which is not a test of skills and knowledge but an opportunity to increase confidence and practice any areas that may need updated.

Paul Richardson, Community Safety Officer at Scottish Borders Council, said: “Older drivers have been identified as being at a greater risk than other groups of being injured in road accidents.

“As people get older their general health and abilities can deteriorate. This may be a gradual process and people might not realise it is happening to them, so will not necessarily notice if their driving is affected. They may struggle to deal with some aspects of today’s roads.

“To continue driving safely, there is a need to recognise that changes can happen, and seek help and advice to be able to drive safely for longer.

“As a result, we have launched this pilot in Hawick and hope it will be well received and can be rolled out across other areas of the Borders.”

The event on 18 May is open to all and will also cover other safety issues such as fire safety and how to avoid being the victim of scams and bogus callers.

The awareness sessions take place on Wednesday 15 June (1.30pm to 3.30pm) and Monday 27 June (10am to 12noon) at Burnfoot Community Hub. These sessions are also free but booking is required – phone 01835 825656 or email safercommunities@scotborders.gov.uk.

The practical driving sessions are £35 and payable to the instructor on the day. A full list of driving instructors taking part is available from the Safer Communities Team.