Retiree fires back on toll figures

A BRANCH president of the Association of Independent Retirees has spoken out against ``picking on'' older drivers after this age group made up the most fatalities in the 2013 road toll.

Last year, 37 people died on Tasmanian roads, including 13 people aged over 64, comprising 35 per cent of deaths.

Their ages ranged from 65, with the eldest a driver and a pedestrian, both aged 96.

There were also drivers aged 82 and 92 who died.

Older people were less likely to be in serious injury crashes, however, with people aged over 64 making up 18.1 per cent of the 250 serious injuries reported last year.

Association of Independent Retirees Northern Tasmanian branch president Graeme Barwick, who has been driving for almost 60 years, said a person's driving ability depended on the individual, not their age.

The Riverside resident said there were drivers from every age group who could benefit from a refresher course.

Infrastructure Minister David O'Byrne said on Wednesday that Tasmania had an ageing population and he encouraged older drivers to sign up for refresher courses.

``It's a controversial one,'' Mr Barwick said.

``There are definitely some older people who need a refresher course, but the vast majority are quite capable and careful drivers and never have an accident.

``So, too, some middle-aged people could do refresher courses and definitely some younger groups, when you see the way they drive and ignore the signals and that.

``But I don't think I would target the older drivers alone; they are safer drivers.''

Mr Barwick, who is almost 76, said he knew people in their 90s who were safe drivers.

He said he was a confident driver and drove thousands of kilometres during a multi-country overseas trip in 2008.

Email: ctang@examiner.com.au 

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