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Elderly motorists need alternatives to driving – expert

Elderly motorists need alternatives to driving – expert

The government needs to provide old people with alternatives to driving cars, says a leading road safety campaigner.

Clive Matthew-Wilson, editor of the car review website dogandlemon.com, was commenting after 29 more people aged 75 or over died or suffered serious injuries on the roads last year.

“After teenage males, old people are one of the highest risk groups on our roads. Old people drive because cars give them a sense of independence, but also, they drive because they have little choice.”

“The entire New Zealand transport system is based around cars and trucks, with very few alternatives. Old people, in particular, tend to live in places that are distant from convenient public transport. In rural areas there’s often no public transport at all.”

“The government needs to create a national strategy aimed at providing old people with alternatives to using cars and encouraging old people to use these alternatives. For example, the government could help fund special buses to take old people shopping or bowling. The government should also require developers to provide easy access to public transport, rather than basing developments solely around carparks.”

“Developers are allowed to build retirement villages or shopping centres in the middle of some field, a long way from the nearest train or bus stop. Therefore, old people using that facility will probably need to go by car. You can’t expect the elderly to willingly give up their cars until the government starts organising the transport system in a way that’s far more friendly to old people.”

"It's often heartbreaking for an old person to give up their car, but it's sometimes necessary in order to protect both that old person and other road users."

“However, it’s not simply a question of banning old people from driving. The government needs to give elderly people alternatives to using cars. Otherwise, these terrible accidents will continue.”

ENDS

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