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Defensive Driving changes program, which continues here

By Jane Lightbourn • Staff writer

The name is changing and the program is undergoing some updates.

For years, the AARP has offered Defensive Driving program for seniors through the Hastings Area Senior Center. Safe driving tips were provided and seniors could possibly earn a discount of their driver’s insurance.

The AARP has updated its program and changed its name to Smart Driver. The rates have also increased.

Beginning Jan. 1, those enrolling in the program will have to prove membership in the AARP to get a reduced fee at the time of registration. The cost for AARP members is $18, for all others it is $23.

Participants may be eligible for discounts up to 10 percent off their insurance. First-time participants are required to complete an eight-hour course. A four-hour refresher course must then be taken every three years.

The objectives of Smart Driver are:

• Learn research-based safety strategies that can reduce the likelihood of having a crash.

• Understand the links among the driver, vehicle and road environment, and how this awareness encourages safer behavior.

• Learn how aging, medications, alcohol and other health-related issues affect driving ability, and ways to adjust to allow for these changes.

• Increase confidence.

• Know how to drive safely when sharing the road with other road users.

• Learn the newest safety and advanced features in vehicles.

• Learn when driving may no longer be safe.

• Explore other ways to travel.

Dates for upcoming courses will be announced soon.