Thursday, April 24, 2008

Reduced Rates for PA Senior Drivers

Do you recognize this woman driver from the mid-80s?
On April 14, 2008, Tyrone-PA online posted an article entitled "New PA law says only ‘refresher’ course needed for previous Seniors for Safe Driving participants", by Amanda Golden. She highlighted recent changes in Pennsylvania law regarding "Senior Driver Improvement Classes" that result in a mandatory 5% reduction in driver insurance rates for three years.

The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has maintained a web page explaining the special rules for "mature" or "older" drivers -- those over the age of 55 -- entitled "Older Driver Info Center", which offers these further links:
On November 30, 2008, PennDOT issued a Press Release, entitled "PennDOT Approves 4-Hour Mature Drive Improvement Course", which announced changes in its senior driver improvement refresher courses to qualify over-55 drivers for discounts in vehicle insurance rates.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has approved a 4-hour Mature Driver Improvement Refresher Course, which will allow drivers 55 and older the opportunity to hone their driving skills and continue to qualify for discounted vehicle insurance.

The refresher course will be offered to individuals who have completed the PennDOT approved, 8-hour Mature Driver Improvement Basic Course within the last three years. Currently, individuals are required to complete this course every three years to continue to qualify for discounted vehicle insurance.

Under Pennsylvania law, drivers 55 and older are eligible to receive a five percent discount on their vehicle insurance by completing the basic course. The requirements for receiving this discount are that each individual named on the policy must be 55 years of age or older and must have completed the course within the past three years. Individuals should check with their insurance carrier for specifics of their program.

“PennDOT is pleased to authorize a refresher course for Pennsylvania’s mature driving population,” said PennDOT Secretary Allen D. Biehler, P.E.

“The basic and refresher courses help mature drivers understand how aging affects driving abilities. They also provide insights about driving on today’s roadways, including recently enacted laws that affect all motorists.” * * *
The Press Release noted the "four state-approved organizations that conduct courses across the commonwealth" addressing the specific safety needs of the mature driver. These courses do not involve any tests on knowledge or driving skills.

PennDOT refers further inquiries to those approved organizations:

  • AAA (Check local offices for availability)
  • AARP (1-888-227-7669)
The recent article by Amanda Golden reflected implementation of the revised training program in one community -- Tyrone, a borough in Blair County, PA, located 15 miles northeast of Altoona, on the Little Juniata River.
The two-day courses have been offered many times in Tyrone, with one class being held recently at Epworth Manor.

With the change in Pennsylvania law, individuals over 55 years of age who have successfully completed a Senior Education Program in the past, now only have to attend a one day refresher course to renew their insurance discount, as opposed to taking the two-day course again. The one-day course lasts a total of three and a half hours.

Seniors who have never participated in a Senior Driver Improvement Program in the past, must still attend a two-day seminar to earn the automobile insurance discount. The two-day course is a total of seven hours, broken down to three and a half hours each day.

The course covers a variety of topics and is designed to help participants do a better job:
  • understanding the element of risk;
  • managing the area around your vehicle with good visual techniques;
  • sharing the highway with other drivers;
  • managing vehicle speed;
  • managing vehicle space as you share the road with others;
  • handling driving emergencies;
  • understanding and compensating for visual changes;
  • understanding techniques for improving night vision and safety;
  • understanding anti-lock braking systems;
  • understanding supplemental inflatable restraint systems;
  • understanding children and air bags -- why they're a dangerous combination;
  • understanding Pennsylvania's road signs;
  • understanding seniors and prescription drug problems;
  • understanding why expressway driving is a problem; and
  • understanding road rage related problems.
The course is presented in a non-threatening environment. The class is informative, entertaining, and there is no testing. There is no on the road driving. The course is strictly classroom theory. A nominal tuition fee is charged. * * *
If you recognize the lady driving the car in the photo above, then you may already have qualified to take such a refresher course.
"Where's the Beef?"
-- Clara Peller (1984) in a Burger King Ad