From a refresher course on “rules of the road” to transportation alternatives and safe driving tips, Belmont seniors received a wealth of information Wednesday at the Older Driver Traffic Safety Seminar.
The seminar, held at the Twin Pines Community Center, was presented by the Senior Volunteers of the California Highway Patrol Redwood City Office, in conjunction with the office of San Mateo County Supervisor Adrienne J. Tissier and the county’s Commission on Aging. Approximately 60 guests were in attendance.
“I was approached in 2005 by a commander from the California Highway Patrol (CHP) to help them launch their older driver program,” said Supervisor Tissier. “It’s been a very successful refresher course for seniors, and I was happy to organize supporters like SetonMedical Center and Mills-Peninsula Hospital to help underwrite the costs.”
“We’ve had a wonderful turnout today. Belmont has a very active senior community,” Tissier added.
Tissier said the peer-to-peer component of the seminars contributes to their success. Attendees can relate better to the senior CHP volunteers who staff and speak at the seminars.
“As a member of the SamTrans board, I also like to make seniors aware of the alternatives to their car, such as the bus, train and senior shuttles,” she said. “We sometimes bring one of our modernized SamTrans buses to these seminars to show seniors how much bus travel has changed.”
Jean Conger, Senior Mobility Project Coordinator for SamTrans, was on hand to discuss transit options and programs for seniors.
“I want to make seniors aware of our Mobility Ambassador Program, in which volunteers help older adults and people with disabilities become with many transportation-related issues,” she said.
Other segments of the seminar included Nutrition and Strength, Confidential Self Evaluation, Myths about Older Drivers and Compensating for Age Related Changes.
A representative from the California Department of Motor Vehicles discussed the various levels of capability in older drivers.
California Highway Patrol Officer Art Montiel led a question and answer session, in which he responded to queries on everything from motorcycle traffic lanes to highway safety.
As the public information officer for the Redwood City area CHP, Officer Montiel is in charge of community outreach and the senior volunteer program.
“It’s nice to have a uniformed officer attend these events,” he said. “It’s good to show the public that CHP is involved in the community.”
Cheri Handley, Recreation Supervisor for the city of Belmont, was pleased with the day’s event.
“We’ve been doing this for several years now, and we always have a good turnout,” she said.
The seminar was sponsored by Mills-Peninsula Hospital, who provided box lunches for all attendees and volunteers.