First Posted: 7/13/2009
Thirteen area drivers are now just a little bit safer when they hit the roads.
These drivers participated in a driver safety class sponsored by AARP Monday morning. The motorists, who are all over 50 years of age, learned about new driving laws and reviewed the Drivers Handbook put out by the Department of Motor Vehicles as well as learning a little about defensive driving through observation.
According to Bill Lundy, the instructor for the course, those over the age of 50 should take the class once every three years. It is offered four times each year in Surry County either at the Jones Family Resource Center where Mondays class met or at Central United Methodist Church which will host a class in September.
Its designed primarily to remind older drivers that their driving abilities are not what they used to be, he said, referring to reaction time, vision problems and hearing problems. The laws have changed quite a bit since they started driving. The highways have improved and the speed limits are faster. Its just a different ball game.
Participants in the class Monday learned about the cell phone usage laws in North Carolina as well as the seat belt laws, both of which have changed in recent years.
Participants decided to sign up for the class, which costs $12 for AARP members and $14 for non-members, for different reasons. In many states, including Virginia and South Carolina, insurance companies are mandated to offer a discounted rate to drivers who complete the course. In North Carolina, it is optional whether or not a discount is offered.
Grace Adams encourages everyone to take the class, saying that she learned a great deal from it.
I took it to make me feel better. I think we all need to keep trying to educate ourselves, no matter how old we are, she said.
Oscar Fain is one of those hoping to see a reduction in his insurance rates.
I signed up to better my driving ability and maybe get a reduction in my insurance, he said, noting that he learned about new signs, new laws and different regulations. More people should take the class for their own good.
Another of the participants attended the class for a unique reason. She just moved to Surry County from New York and had never driven a car. She relied on public transportation such as subways and buses to get around in New York. Once she moved to Surry County, she had to learn to drive a car to get around. So, she called her insurance company to get a new policy and learned that it would cost $552 each month to cover her because of her age and the fact that she has only been driving for a year.
She has since gotten her insurance down to $192 per month and hopes to see it drop even farther.
Im hoping and wishing nothing happens to my driving. Thats why Im here taking this class, she said. We need more public transportation in this town.
Those interested in signing up for the September class should contact Central United Methodist Church at 786-8324.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.