Senior Driver Safety Course - KCBD NewsChannel 11 Lubbock

2/19/03

Senior Driver Safety Course

Senior citizens behind the wheel. Maybe you've cut them off, or you fly past them on the Loop, maybe you're one of them. Now, some senior citizens in Lubbock are trying to change the way they drive.

It's a program called 55 Alive. It teaches driver safety to seniors. It helps sharpen road skills and lower insurance rates. But perhaps most importantly, it makes Lubbock streets safer for everyone.

Donald Lemaster is 86-years-old. He took the 55 Alive Driver Safety Program for the first time five years ago. "The reason I decided to take it is because it would aide me in being a better driver and two it would assist me, gives me a real discount on my car insurance program," Lemaster said.

But now, he's taking what he learned and teaching it to other senior drivers. "The main problem they have is probably making left hand turns on busy streets or thoroughfares and making them safely and we teach people how to find a parking place by making all right hand turns. Another thing I think they learn is their weaknesses some people have a hearing problem, some people have an eye problem at this age and it brings out all of these things to help them understand better," says Lemaster.

The class covers all realms of driving, from the importance of wearing a seatbelt to common distractions seniors face while driving. "I drive a large motor home and tow a car and I just feel like I need to be aware of all the traffic situations when I'm on interstates and in busy traffic," said Christa Dobbs, a student in the class.

"I hope that this course will polish up my skills. I'm learning that I need to change my habits that's for sure", Ken Rhodes, a student in the class said.

"I think it's very important I think it provides safety to the seniors and their actions and the way they drive their going to be an influence on other people and its going to be safer highways and safer streets," Lemaster says.

The final chapter of the workbook, is the hardest for many, it covers when to know when to quit driving. One example Mr Lemaster gives is if your children and grandchildren won't ride with you anymore, then you probably shouldn't be driving.

55 Alive is an eight hour course, that involves lessons and exercises, then a three year certificate documenting the students as safe drivers to lower insurance. To learn more about the 55 Alive driving program (click here).

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