Drive Ability North West is championing a police programme set up to support vulnerable road users to drive more safely through education and engagement.
A Police Fitness to Drive scheme, which is already a success in many other parts of the UK, has now launched in Merseyside.
The programme is a joint partnership between Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Merseyside Police.
Photograph (L-R): Dr Barry Clift (Bridgewater NHS), Constable Dave Peters (Merseyside Police),
Sergeant Garreth Berry (Merseyside Police) and Matt Bryers (Bridgewater NHS)
Working with drivers referred into the service by Merseyside Police, the scheme will support people who have been involved in a collision or committed an offence of careless driving. This initiative is an alternative to prosecution with the aim to prevent drivers being involved in killed or seriously injured road traffic collisions.
Many older drivers, drivers of adapted vehicles and those potentially affected by a medical condition, are not suitable for current educational courses and the only means is prosecution. This does not address the vulnerability of the road user and they may continue to drive when it is no longer safe to do so.
Drive Ability North West will identify those who are safe to continue driving, those who need further skills training, and those who are no longer safe to drive on the roads will need to retire from driving.
Speaking about the partnership, Matt Bryers, Operational Manager of Drive Ability North West said:
“We’re incredibly pleased to be working with Merseyside Police on this partnership to ensure all road users remain safe on our roads.
“This positive approach assesses, educates and supports people who may no longer be able to drive. We understand the huge impact this can have on people’s lives and we are here to help them find the alternative options available so they can retain their independence, where possible.”
Sergeant Garreth Berry, of Merseyside Police, added:
“This is an excellent example of joint agency and partnership working. We often refer drivers on to motoring courses as an educational and preventative measure following a collision.
“Until now, we have not had a bespoke course or centre available to refer vulnerable road users to, so they continue to drive safely. Through referrals and the assessments Drive Ability undertake, I believe this will reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across Merseyside.”
For further information about the scheme, please visit the Drive Ability North West website at bridgewater.nhs.uk/drive.