New road safety initiative

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Grampian Police has launched a drive to slash the number of motorists over the age of 60 involved in serious or fatal collisions.

The ‘Be a SMART Driver’ campaign was rolled out in Aberdeenshire after figures revealed that 23% of those killed as a result of collisions on Grampian roads were people over the age of 60, with 68% of those collisions occurring in Aberdeenshire.

The initiative aims to highlight issues which can affect any driver’s ability, many of which become more pertinent among older drivers. Drivers who follow the SMART advice should ensure that they are Safe, Medically Fit, Alert, Responsible, Taking Control.

Road Safety Manager Leslie Harrold said: “We have targeted younger drivers through a variety of initiatives and focused patrols. The results have been positive and are clear to see as the number of fatalities on Grampian’s roads has fallen in recent years.

“Much of the ‘be a SMART driver’ campaign will highlight the need for all drivers to take personal responsibility for their own health and fitness to drive. Any of us can suffer from poor eyesight or health conditions can affect our driving, as we get older we need to think more about these issues. The campaign will offer drivers advice and support, which hopefully will allow them to keep driving for longer and to be safer while they are doing so.

“We all have a responsibility to act safely whilst on our roads, for the benefit of all road users. By taking some simple steps you can make a big difference to your ability to drive safely. You can have your eyesight checked regularly or take some further driver training.

“Many drivers have had no further driver training since they passed the driving test, which could be many years ago. Brushing up on your driving skills and boosting your confidence may be all you need to do.

“I am delighted that our partners have offered to support this campaign and in time it may go Force wide.”

Information on the campaign will be distributed throughout Aberdeenshire in Medical Practices, Libraries, Police Stations and Council buildings, and Road Safety Grampian staff will be engaging with people in Aberdeenshire at public events and workshops throughout the remainder of the year.

Councillor Jim Gifford, Leader of Aberdeenshire Council said: “Aberdeenshire Council is very happy to be supporting a partnership approach to making the people of Aberdeenshire safer and also those visiting the area and using our roads.”

William Munro, Chair of the Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership said: “The Aberdeenshire Community Safety Partnership has as one of its priorities promoting safety and preventing accidents, particularly on our roads.

“The proportion of older people in Aberdeenshire is increasing and older drivers are more vulnerable.

“It is with this in mind, that the Partnership is supporting this project and is pleased to be contributing, with the aim of reducing the number of road traffic collisions in Aberdeenshire.”

Neil Warden, Regional Group Co-ordinator with the Institute of Advanced Motorists said: “The IAM are always happy and willing to promote road safety and ultimately help drivers and riders get more out of their driving.

“As we all get older our ability to do these changes and sometimes it may take an incident to happen before we realise this.

“Although this campaign is aimed at the elder or mature driver, everyone has a responsibility to ensure that they drive to the best of their ability and do so responsibly and safely.

“We would encourage anyone no matter of age to come along and have a chat with all the partners of this campaign if they have any concerns about their driving ability. This is not a test with a pass or fail; it is an assessment of their current skill where advice may be offered to help improve their confidence and ability.”