Senator, CHP, kick off refresher driving class for seniors

State Sen. Scott Wilk meets with seniors at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center in Newhall on Thursday. Jim Holt/The Signal

State Sen. Scott Wilk dropped in on a senior citizen driving class in Newhall on Thursday, helping promote a motor vehicle-safety program aimed at aging drivers.

Wilk kicked off the “Age Well, Drive Smart” safety program at the Santa Clarita Valley Senior Center saying: “My 92-year-old mother-in-law still drives.”

Nearly 100 seniors took their seats at the “driving refresher” class offered by program’s partners — Wilk and the California Highway Patrol.

“We all need refresher courses in driving,” Wilk told the group, sharing a statistic on aging motorists that helped spark the program.

“According to the AARP, 1-in-4 drivers will be over the age of 65 by March 2029,” he said.

“Everybody can benefit from this course,” said CHP Officer Josh Greengard, also noting the average age for drivers continues to rise.

The 2-hour course, hosted by CHP volunteer Gene Baxter, was free for anyone who attended and geared toward drivers 55 years of age and older.

The refresher course covered  rules of the road, safety tips, and street signs, including offering advice on age-related physical changes and how to adjust to those changes to remain safe.

The AARP states that the elderly population is growing and the proportion of elderly drivers is growing rapidly as well.

The program did not shy away from factors directly affecting seniors.

It was pointed out during the course that several factors contribute to vulnerabilities for older drivers, including fragility which increases with age and environmental factors that would impact some older drivers such as signs, road markings, and small lettering that may be difficult to see at night.

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