EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

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October 8, 2013

Older N.H. drivers refresh their skills

AARP helps keep older drivers up to speed


“It’s estimated that nearly $128 million has been saved on auto insurance nationwide in the 30 years that we have been teaching this course,” Andrews said.

New Hampshire does not have mandatory car insurance, nor are older drivers required to take a retest before renewing their licenses.

Marie Farrell, 77, of Salem said she wanted to make sure she was up to speed with new driving rules.

“Sometimes I’m not sure what all the street signs mean,” she said. “I also want to know if there are rules against taking certain drugs or medications while driving.”

Dorayne Passler, 60, of Salem, said she wanted to see what has changed since she last took a driver’s education course in high school.

“I’m sure I’ve forgotten a lot,” she said yesterday. “I think it’s good as we get older to review things and to make sure we’re still safe on the road as we age. Things change over the year, as the cars obviously get a lot more sophisticated.”

Cote said it’s not just the mind that slows down over time.

“People aren’t as limber as they used to be,” he said. “We talk about going from the brake to the gas pedal. We talk about being able to peek over your shoulder to check if a car is coming from behind. It’s all about wanting to make people aware that this is happening.”

Cote’s course is split into two four-hour classes. There’s no test at the end, but Cote tries to make it challenging for the students.

“I’ll quiz them along the way,” he said. “We’ll also give them a little bit of homework before graduation.”

The course costs $12 for AARP members, $14 for nonmembers. There is an online course available at $15.95 for AARP members, $19.95 for nonmembers. For more information, visit aarp.org/findacourse.

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