SACRAMENTO – Nearly 500 senior citizens from South Orange County packed two different venues earlier this week to attend “Age Well, Drive Smart,” a driver safety course hosted by Senator Patricia Bates (R-Laguna Niguel) in partnership with the California Highway Patrol. Due to the popularity of previous classes held in Carlsbad and Vista, communities represented by Senator Bates, both recent classes held in San Juan Capistrano and Laguna Hills quickly filled up with senior citizens signing up for the course.
“As we age, we all need a refresher course when it comes to driving safely. And we know that mobility and autonomy are important to our aging population. I’m proud of the work that my staff and I can do in serving our senior citizens and partnering with the California Highway Patrol to organize such informative classes,” said Senator Bates.
The two-hour safety driving classes were free and geared toward drivers who are 55 years of age and older, such as Seniye Huang, a Mission Viejo resident, who attended the Laguna Hills class.
“This event was wonderful. It was very informative and enlightening. The information presented by the California Highway Patrol was good. Thank you to Senator Bates and her advocacy on senior issues,” said Huang.
Over the past six years, the California Highway Patrol emphasized roadway safety and mobility of California’s senior citizens. The refresher course led by CHP Officer Rafael Reynoso, based out of the San Juan Capistrano office, covered the rules of the road, safety tips, and street signs.
“We focus on making sure our highways are safe so that the public feels safe when they are out on the roads. Both events were well-attended and that means Senator Bates is involved in the community. She hears her community’s concerns and issues and in this particular case, the older drivers,” said CHP Officer Reynoso.
The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) states that by 2029, 1 out of 4 drivers will be 65 years or older. Several factors contribute to vulnerabilities for older drivers, including fragility which increases with age and environmental factors that would impact some older drivers such as signs, road markings, and small lettering that may be difficult to see at night.
San Juan Capistrano Mayor Pro Tem Brian Maryott attended a portion of the class in his city.
“It’s terrific to have Senator Bates here in the community and our California Highway Patrol. Our senior citizens want to continue their mobility and it means a lot to them to continue to be able to drive. It’s a changing world so it’s important that we can get the information to our senior citizens,” said Mayor Pro Tem Maryott.
Senator Bates represents the 36th Senate District in the California Legislature, which covers South Orange County, North San Diego County and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. She is the Senate Republican Leader.