Valley car dealers host AARP safe driving series

Summer has always been the deadliest time of year for driving, and those older than 65 have a much higher incidence of fatal injury per annual miles driven.

More than 50 years ago, AARP launched 55 Alive as a driver education program to help re-educate experienced drivers with the latest information to enhance prolonged driving. Insurance companies were later mandated to offer Nevada drivers over 50 years of age discounts on their auto insurance policies to eligible attendees who have completed the four-hour driver safety AARP course, now called Smart Driver. (The insurance company will determine the value of the discount, if applicable.)

Cars are becoming more technologically advanced every day and show no sign of slowing down. This means there’s more safety technology in today’s cars than ever before. However, many drivers, especially mature drivers, aren’t familiar with how to use the technology to keep them safe.

In 2016, The Hartford and the MIT AgeLab released research on “Vehicle Technology Preferences Among Mature Drivers,” revealing that three-quarters of drivers aged 50 and older who plan to buy a new car in the next two years will actively seek out high-tech safety features. In 2017, The Hartford and AARP Driver Safety found that 4 out of 10 people prefer to learn about these technologies in an in-person workshop by a trusted national organization or a local car dealer.

These findings pointed to an opportunity for AARP and The Hartford to co-develop a robust in-person education program that helps drivers learn how to maximize the value of ever-evolving vehicle safety features.

Eighteen cities in the United States are currently piloting the Smart DriverTEK program. Nevada was chosen to participate due to the tremendous growth of experienced drivers receiving the AARP Smart Driver certification.

An AARP-trained presenter leads a group of 15 to 25 people for a 90-minute workshop. The workshop includes an overview of vehicle technology and a step-by-step guide of how these technologies work and how they can benefit drivers and pedestrians. A handy shopping checklist will help future car buyers with their shopping decisions.

After each workshop attendees will be given ample time to experience firsthand the various features discussed.

“Findlay Honda Henderson is very excited to be hosting these safe driver classes with AARP,” said Assistant General Manager Emmanuel Epino. “Our Honda Sensing Suite has been nationally recognized by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) for reducing crashes and injuries in significant numbers since its inception. The Smart DriverTEK curriculum fits nicely into our efforts to assist our seniors with independent mobility of the highest safety level.”

Beginning Thursday at Findlay Toyota in the Valley Automall, AARP will introduce its summer series of senior safe driving classes: Smart Driver and Smart DriverTEK. Classes are offered mornings, afternoons, evenings and some Saturdays to meet the needs of the community and AARP members.

The schedule and sign-up is available online or at the host location the day of the class. Locations include Findlay Toyota, Findlay Acura, Findlay Honda Henderson, Henderson Nissan and Chapman Chrysler Jeep throughout the summer.

The full calendar of class locations throughout Southern Nevada can be found at the AARP websites: www.aarp.org/smartdriver or www.aarp.org/findaworkshop10 for Smart DriverTEK. To register for AARP Smart DriverTEK, call 877-805-4155; a $5 fee applies.

Register for Smart Driver four-hour workshops at 877-846-3299; the fee is $15 for AARP members/$20 nonmembers. Class size and space are limited.

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