'Bad habits cause crashes'

ONE of the Fraser Coast's most experienced vehicle instructors is demanding an overhaul of the way elderly drivers renew their licence.

Fraser Coast Driving School owner and instructor Melissa Budworth said a number of recent accidents in the region confirmed a problem exists and it needs to be addressed.

The educator of 22 years believes compulsory assessments of aged drivers would reduce car crashes and improve general road safety.

"I believe people should (see a driving instructor) before they renew their licence after a certain age," Ms Budworth said.

"But I think, more so, it should be encouraged to people to improve their skills as they get older."

She claims such examinations would reduce accidents involving elderly people by keeping them aware of bad driving habits they had developed.

Pensioner Shirley Bromley is one 70-year-old who happily consents to a refresher lesson every six months.

A hip replacement forced her from the road for a prolonged period last year, denting her driving poise and causing her to re-think how she approached getting behind the wheel.

"I think you get a lot more timid as you get older and you need to refresh your skills because it does make a difference," Ms Bromley said.

"It definitely gives me more confidence.

"On the road if you lack confidence, you are apprehensive - I think that does have the potential to cause more accidents."

Ms Bromley, who is Ms Budworth's mother, admitted her relationship with the driving instructor made getting refresher lessons easier.

But she urged mature-aged people to consider the approach in a bid to reduce death and injury.