558 N. Main St., Prineville, OR 97754 | (541) 447-6205
Keeping older drivers safer
AARP Driver Safety courses are in place in Oregon and across the nation to help drivers over 50 stay safe
November 12, 2012
For drivers over 50 years of age, there are many age-related changes in vision, hearing, and reaction time that can affect driving safety and skills.
AARP Driver Safety, a well-established driving course in Central Oregon, addresses these unique challenges and teaches valuable defensive driving skills. The course helps drivers to refresh the rules of the road, as well as provide tips on how to compensate for physical and cognitive changes that may come with aging.
District Coordinator for the Tri-County Driver Safety Program Tom Rynan said that the class is an Oregon Department of Motor Vehicles accredited, six-hour defensive driving program that is focused on Oregon traffic laws in an ever-changing driving environment.
“It’s important because past age 50 we tend to age, our hearing begins to get compromised, our eyesight begins to get compromised — our reaction also does, and what this class does is help people to recognize the changes and make adjustments so they can continue driving,” said Rynan.
He added that these compromised reaction times account for a high rate of crashes, and the class educates drivers on not only these facts, but how to compensate for them. Rynan also emphasized that people of all ages are welcome in the class, and many take the class to get the insurance discount, as provided by Oregon law.
“It seems invariably after the classes that people come up to us and say, ‘Wow, this was such a good class and helped me so much.’ The discount seems to then be lower on the scale,” indicated Rynan. “It’s an excellent well-put-together program.”
Rynan spent his 35-year career in the Oregon State Police. This was his motivation for becoming an instructor in the program because he saw multiple crashes and accidents that didn’t have to happen. He first took the class for the insurance discount, and then he discovered how valuable it was to him as a driver.
“When I found out how good it was, and how valuable it was to me, I figured I could do this to help other people,” he said. “I have been at this for 10 years.”
He began in the state of Washington, where he initially took his first class. Rynan has been in Redmond for six years, and spent most of his life in the Willamette Valley. He said that one of the many good things about the course is the fact that it gets people to thinking more about their driving, using a variety of teaching methods.
“It makes people think.”
Upcoming classes in Central Oregon for the month of November:
All classes are from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. with an hour off for lunch.
The cost, $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members. For the month of November, AARP honors veterans in recognition of their dedication and commitment to service by offering a free classroom course. The offer is good through Nov. 30 for all members of the U.S. armed forces, including active duty, veteran, guard or reserves. It includes spouses, domestic partners, widows and widowers, as well as dependents and children. Toyota is the sponsor of the Veteran’s Promotion Program.
Prineville Senior Center Tuesday Nov. 13
To enroll call 447-6844
Redmond Senior Center Monday Nov. 19
To enroll call 548-6325
Bend Senior Center Monday Nov. 26
To enroll call 388-1133
St. Charles Hospital Tuesday Nov. 27
To enroll call 771-6224