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Winchester police holding class on safe driving for seniors

By Joe Beck

The Winchester Police Department is scheduling a class for older drivers designed to help keep their driving skills sharp as they age.

The free class scheduled from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. March 7 at the Active Living and Recreation Center in the War Memorial Building at Jim Barnett Park will encompass topics such as how aging affects driving, defensive driving, finding the right car, and medications and driving.

Lauren Cummings, police community relations and crime prevention specialist with the Winchester police, said people of any age are welcome.

"We would actually encourage sons, daughters, or other family members of loved ones to attend," Cummings said. "We just wanted to reach out to the mature driving community. It's fine for anybody to attend."

Drivers 70 years and older constitute about 10 percent of all licensed drivers in the United States. While statistics show they are the safest group of motorists, the aging process often takes a toll on driving skills after the age of 75, according to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles. The agency cites the onset of ailments such as arthritis, Parkinson's disease and eye problems as examples of the added risks for some older drivers.

The state requires drivers 80 and older to appear in person at an agency office and pass a vision screening to renew their licenses. A person must have vision of 20/40, with or without glasses, to maintain a driver's license.

Those interested in attending the Winchester police class should register no later than March 3 by emailing Cummings at Lauren.cummings@winchesterva.gov or by calling 545-7548.

Contact staff writer Joe Beck at 540-465-5137 ext. 142, or jbeck@nvdaily.com

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