Over 100 people were present at Mansion House, as St Helens Council’s Road Safety team, along with a range of other agencies, held the first ever Merseyside Senior Road Users event, funded by the Merseyside Road Safety Partnership.
The road safety event was the first of many to be held all over Merseyside in an attempt to reduce the rising number of casualties, resulting from road traffic collisions on Merseyside, involving those aged 60 and over.
Those who attended enjoyed a number of presentations from the different stakeholders who were tasked to assist in this endeavour by providing key facts and messages in the pursuit of removing the perception that someone who has been driving for some 40 years, without being involved in an accident, won’t be involved in one in the future.
As well as St Helens Council’s Road Safety and Public Health teams – Merseyside Police, Arriva, Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, Age UK, Senior Voice and Institute of Advanced Motorists all contributed towards the event, with Merseyside Police outlining the new drug and driving laws, which surprised many of the audience and made many think twice.
Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service stunned the audience with the fact that they now deal with more casualties resulting from road traffic collisions than from fires, indeed 80 per cent more, and posed a number of searching questions about their driving ability.
The option of using the free travel passes that are available for those aged 60 and over was highlighted by Arriva, while the Public Health team, Age UK and Senior Voice provided many tips about improving their health and encouraging a more active lifestyle.
St Helens Council’s Head of Traffic, UTC & Road Safety, George Houghton, said: “Driving is harder now with the traffic increasing from 12 million vehicles in 1970 to 35 million today. This problem does not only affect drivers as there is also an increase in casualties involving other road users aged 60 and over across Merseyside too”.
“Generally, with better living conditions and advances in medical science, we are all living longer and healthier than our parents, but many are now depending on more medication, which could affect their judgements and reactions, so care needs to be taken.”
This pilot event was well received, with those in attendance participating in a quiz based on what they had learned throughout the day – while a question and answer session provided the opportunity for the audience to seek more information. The day was then rounded off with a few games of bingo and a further opportunity for the attendees to peruse the ‘market place’ of multiple agencies promoting their services.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Transport, Housing, and Community Safety, Councillor Richard McCauley, said: “It’s pleasing to see St Helens lead the way by hosting events like this which play an integral part to the safety of our road users.
“I don’t think the event could have gone any better. Everyone appeared to be so engaged and came out the end having learned a thing or two that they didn’t know previously.”
For further information, please contact St Helens Council’s Road Safety Team on 01744 676851.