TAMPA, Fla. -- Jo Ellen Bengert, who says she’s “over 60” and leaves it at that, is a good driver -- unless it’s at night. That freaks her out.
“My nighttime vision is not as clear as daytime, that’s for sure,” said Bengert.
Truth be told, this older driver is more concerned about the other drivers on the roads including ones that are texting, distracted by changing radio stations or tourist who have no idea where they are going.
Bengert is taking part in a big local push this week to make older drivers and everyone else safer on the road this holiday season.
The event is called Older Driver Safety Awareness Week. It is put on by the “Safety is Golden” coalition which is made up of the Florida Department of Transportation, AARP and AAA.
“We want them to understand the natural changes that happen to all of us as we age,” says FDOT’s Gail Holley. “We want them to stay proactive drivers.”
Drivers can sign up for defensive-driving safety courses that will also lower their insurance by hundreds of dollars. Their vehicle can also undergo CarFit-ing, which adjusts mirrors to eliminate blind spots, among other things.
To sign up for driver safety courses or information on how older drivers can stay safe and mobile, visit www.safeandmobileseniors.org.
December is a notoriously dangerous time of the year for impaired driving, and Florida officials say they are stepping up patrols as well as an education campaign in an effort to make the state's roadways safer.
From December 23, 2016 to January 2, 2017, there were 193 drug and/or alcohol-related crashes on Florida roadways, resulting in 36 fatalities, state officials said. Although alcohol confirmed crashes have decreased 15 percent from 2014, drug confirmed crashes have risen 50 percent from 2014.
Impaired driving includes driving under the influence of over-the-counter or prescription drugs that affect the ability to drive.
“Troopers will continue to aggressively enforce impaired driving laws to ensure all motorists and their families are safe during this holiday season,” said Colonel Gene S. Spaulding, Director of the Florida Highway Patrol.
The DHSMV is partnering with entities including the Florida Sheriffs Association, Florida Police Chiefs Association and AAA in a campaign geared at educating motorists on the dangers of driving under the influence of alcohol and drugs to further reduce impaired driving crashes.
Tips to help ensure motorists arrive safely this holiday season:
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