New police fitness to drive scheme launched in Merseyside
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A new Police Fitness to Drive scheme has launched in Merseyside as an alternative to prosecution.
Drive Ability North West is championing the police programme set up to support vulnerable road users to drive more safely through education and engagement.
The scheme, which is already a success in many other parts of the UK, has now been set-up in Merseyside.
The programme is a joint partnership between Bridgewater Community Healthcare NHS Foundation Trust and Merseyside Police.
Working with drivers referred into the service by Merseyside Police, the scheme will support people who have been involved in a collision or committed an offence of careless driving. This initiative is an alternative to prosecution with the aim to prevent drivers being involved in killed or seriously injured road traffic collisions.
Many older drivers, drivers of adapted vehicles and those potentially affected by a medical condition, are not suitable for current educational courses and the only disposal method is prosecution. This does not address the vulnerability of the road user and they may continue to drive when no longer be safe to do so.
Drive Ability North West will identify those who are safe to continue driving, those who need further skills training, and those who are no longer safe, so need to retire from driving.
Speaking about the partnership, Matt Bryers, Operational Manager of Drive Ability North West said: “We’re incredibly pleased to be working with Merseyside Police on this partnership to ensure all road users remain safe on our roads.
“This positive approach assesses, educates and supports people who may no longer be able to drive. We understand the huge impact this can have on people’s lives and we are here to help them find the alternative options available so they can retain their independence, where possible.”
Sergeant Garreth Berry, of Merseyside Police, added: “This is an excellent example of joint agency and partnership working. We often refer drivers for courses as an educational and preventative measure following a collision. Until now, we have not had a bespoke course or centre available to refer different types of vulnerable road users to.
“Through referrals and the assessments Drive Ability undertake, I believe this will reduce the number of people killed or seriously injured in road traffic collisions across Merseyside.”