Nelson older drivers offered free personalised vehicle ‘fit’ check-up
Nelson City Council and local Rotary Clubs have teamed up with the Automobile Association and the New Zealand Association of Occupational Therapists to run a unique event called CarFit, a FREE community education service to older drivers.
A CarFit event offers them a free check on how well they personally ‘fit’ their vehicle. The check makes sure they are aware of all their vehicle’s safety features and can adjust them to fit themselves. Information is also provided that can improve people’s safety as drivers and maximise their mobility in the community, says Kath Henderson, Senior Adviser from the AA, who has introduced CarFit into New Zealand.
“More than other groups, older people are very likely to drive with safety in mind. They are more likely to wear their seatbelts and less likely to speed, or to drink and drive. But unfortunately when a crash does occur, because of their greater frailty they can be killed or seriously injured,” says Mrs Henderson.
“Older drivers can improve their safety by making the best use of their car’s features. For example, making sure they are using all their mirrors to minimise blind spots, having their seat adjusted to the best position for them, and being aware of other safety features in their car and using them if they need to.”
Mrs Henderson says a CarFit check takes about 20 minutes and involves trained community volunteer technicians and health professionals working with each participant to ensure they ‘fit’ their vehicle properly for maximum comfort and safety. The technicians also offer tips and advice and information about products or services that older drivers might benefit from.
“Staying independently mobile is incredibly important for our well-being. We all depend on our cars to access essential services as well as for family and social activities.
"It’s amazing what can be done to keep people driving safely for longer. Programmes like CarFit are going to become increasingly important as the number of older people in our community grows,” says Mrs Henderson.
Margaret Parfitt, Road Safety Adviser for Nelson City Council says CarFit provides valuable assistance for older drivers and local rotary clubs have been crucial in helping make available in Nelson.
“When the AA asked us if we were interested in introducing CarFit to Nelson, we were very keen to get involved. A lot of voluntary effort is going into this initiative, but the reward is seeing people drive away knowing they are safer on the road, more protected in the case of a crash, and are more likely to be able to keep driving for longer,” says Ms Parfitt
The first session is full and is being held on this THURSDAY JULY 28 at the Nelson Suburban Club, Annesbrook Drive, Tahunanui from 1-3:30pm.
For future events older drivers can book a CarFit check up in advance by contacting Margaret Parfitt from Nelson City Council on 546 0390 or email Margaret.email@example.com
The CarFit check-up is FREE and helps older people keep driving safely for longer.
CarFit is based on CarFit in the USA, which was created by the American Society on Aging and developed in collaboration with American Automobile Association, AARP and the American Occupational Therapy Association. The programme has been adapted for New Zealand by the NZ Automobile Association with advice from the NZ Association of Occupational Therapists. Local government and non-profit community groups help to run CarFit events.