Last updated: March 27. 2014 11:35AM - 807 Views

Charles Warner|Daily TimesThe Union Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1437 Jonesville Highway (SC 18) will be the site of the next AARP Driver Safety refresher course on April 1 and 14 from 6-9 p.m.
Charles Warner|Daily TimesThe Union Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1437 Jonesville Highway (SC 18) will be the site of the next AARP Driver Safety refresher course on April 1 and 14 from 6-9 p.m.
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UNION — AARP Driver Safety just got smarter. The AARP initiative that has helped older drivers stay safe, educated and confident behind the wheel since 1979 debuted its new AARP Smart Driver™ Course on Jan. 1, 2014. The course is now available throughout South Carolina in both a classroom setting, led by certified volunteer instructors, and online.

Why should South Carolina drivers be interested in refreshing their skills? The driving landscape has changed dramatically in the past 30, 40, 50 and even 60 years, since many drivers received their driver’s licenses.

“Everyone can benefit from a refresher course that helps them stay current with the rules of the road,” said Julie E. Lee, vice president and national director of AARP Driver Safety. “And as the number of older drivers increase, it’s critical that we optimize the driving experience for capable older adults by helping them become more confident, knowledgeable drivers. Doing so can reduce social isolation issues and negative financial costs associated with crashes, while making the roads safer for all.”

The next class in Union will be on Monday, April 7 and 14, 2014 from 6-9 p.m. at the Union Seventh-Day Adventist Church, 1437 Jonesville Highway (SC 18). This is a 6-hour course, and class participants must attend both Monday nights. The fee is $ 15 for AARP members, and $ 20 for non-members. You may register by calling 864-427-8852 or 864-415-1656. Bill Strong is the instructor.

AARP Smart Driver Course: The New & Improved Curriculum

AARP has long known the effectiveness of its driving refresher course. A recent poll showed that 97 percent of participants changed at least one key driving behavior after taking the course. But, in an effort to further validate its effectiveness and evolve the course with the changing driving landscape, AARP partnered with the Eastern Virginia Medical School to conduct a research study that started in 2011.

The results highlighted areas of opportunity in which older drivers could benefit from additional training such as: managing roundabouts, pavement markings, stop-sign compliance, and safety issues such as speeding, seatbelt and turn signal use.

In addition to learning safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of a crash, participants of the new course will learn how aging, medications, alcohol, and other health-related issues affect driving ability, and how to adjust driving accordingly to allow for these changes. The course also helps participants determine when it may not be best to drive (e.g., late at night, inclement weather, etc.) and how to plan for a time when driving is no longer an option.

In addition to research, the new AARP Smart Driver Course was developed with input from a National Older Driver Safety Expert Panel, chaired by Dr. Joseph Coughlin of MIT AgeLab.

Designed with the participant in mind, the AARP Smart Driver Course also incorporates adult learning principles, and the classroom course guidebook features reader-friendly print types, full-color pages, an easy-to-follow format and supplemental course videos.

With 19 areas of customization, the course is tailored to meet the needs of participants by providing [STATE]-specific information that is easy to access and understand.

Participants are encouraged to check with their insurance agent for details about the type of discounts they can receive by taking the course.

For more information or to find a course, visit or call 1-888-227-7669. The course is open to drivers of all ages, and AARP membership is not required to take the course.

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