Some mid-Missourians will get a driving refresher course

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FULTON — Drivers education is usually a class for high schoolers. But AARP is offering a refresher course for people over 50 about how to be safe behind the wheel.

Fulton Parks and Recreation said the program will be held at Fulton City Hall on Thursday, April 28th.

The instructor of the course said it hopes to teach people how to be safer drivers.

"What I focus on, what the course focuses on is helping people be safe drivers, avoiding accidents, learning and adopting to some of the changes in cars and other drivers," said AARP course instructor Robert McEllingott.

McEllingott said some people take the course to take advantage of slight reductions on their insurance premiums and to become better drivers among today's new technologies, like as smart cars and phones.

McEllingott said there is a widely used online safe driving course, but he saw a need for a face-to-face course as well in Mid-Missouri.

"I realized that for people that aren't comfortable with the computer, they would want to take it face-to-face and there weren't any courses from Columbia to St. Louis," McEllingott said.

He said the older you get, the less likely you are to get into an accident, but when you do get into an accident you are more likely to be injured."

"Our bodies just aren't designed to go more than 10 miles an hour," McEllingot said. "And a 20 year old that is quickly stopped at 20 or 30 miles an hour, sometimes its not a big deal. But for an 80 year old, their bones are more frail."

The class is based on a teaching DVD and on a 124 page workbook with several points that can help individuals stay cautious on roads. They target things like properly left turning on signals and yielding the right away.

"The other thing we get into is when should people stop driving, how to talk to loved ones who don't drive safely and how to improve are health for people taking medication," McEllingott said. "There a frequent side affects from medication."

The next course will be offered at the Columbia Public Library on July 14.