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A COMPENDIUM OF LAW ENFORCEMENT OLDER DRIVER PROGRAMS

 

 

 

Index
Introduction
Alabama
Arizona
California
Connecticut
Delaware
Florida
Georgia
Idaho
Illinois
Iowa
Kentucky
Maine
Maryland
Massachusetts
Minnesota
Missouri
Nebraska
Nevada
New Jersey
New Mexico
New York
Ohio
Ontario, Canada
Pennsylvania
Tennessee
Texas
Vermont
Virginia
Wisconsin
Other Resources

MASSACHUSETTS


The Newton, Massachusetts Police Department launched its older driver programs in 2000. The programs are coordinated through the department's TRIAD officer. Sergeant Ken Dangelo developed a one-hour training session for older drivers, "Driving Safety for Older Drivers." The training consists of rules of the road, driving safety tips for older drivers, and the aging effect on the body. The program is given at senior citizen centers, outreach agencies, and other locations as requested. Sergeant Dangelo has written articles on driver safety in the "Golden Times" senior newsletter, which is distributed throughout the community of approximately 85,000. Sergeant Dangelo provided commentary on older drivers on the training video, "Safe Return and Law Enforcement, Saving Lives Together," produced by the Alzheimer's Association and fund-ed through a grant from the United States Department of Justice.

The department follows up on collision reports when it is suspected that an older driver or other driver may be incapable of driving safely. The TRIAD officer conducts a personal visit with the driver to assess his or her needs. Often, family members are contacted to assist the driver and police department. When an "immediate threat" is noted, the officer will contact the State Registry of Motor Vehicles in writing to request a medical review and/or re-examination.

At the time of the follow-up, the police department provides the driver and/or family with information on local alternative transportation availability, social services, and medical services.

In 2001, the police department provided annual in-service training to their officers on Alzheimer's disease. The training covered identification, interaction, and how to handle situations concerning the driver with Alzheimer's disease.

Contact:

Sergeant Ken Dangelo
Newton Police Department
1321 Washington Street
West Newton, MA 02465
Web site: www.ci.newton.ma.us/police/
Phone: (617) 796-2100
E-mail: kdangelo@ci.newton.ma.us

The Waltham, Massachusetts Police Department implemented an older driver program in 1995 with a three-way commitment between the Waltham Council on Aging, AARP, and the Waltham Police Department. Their focus, as it relates to drivers, was not to take away driver's licenses, but instead, to educate seniors on ways to improve their driving skills and compensate for any deficiencies that reduce their driving capabilities. The TRIAD developed a plan to assist seniors with transportation needs and the trauma of losing independence when driver licenses must be surrendered.

Officer Jon Bailey developed the Senior Academy For Education (S.A.F.E.), a 15-hour safety course that addresses many senior issues including driver and pedestrian safety. The academy is well attended and always has a waiting list. The officer also presents a course to senior citizens, prior to winter, about the hazards of winter driving and preparing for inclement weather. The older driver programs are highlighted on local media outlets.

In 1999, the Waltham Police Department began teaching a segment on elder issues to the police officers at their in-service academy. Officers from surrounding police agencies also can attend the training. Officer Bailey is the course instructor and teaches officers to identify and assist potential problem drivers before they become an immediate threat. The training is provided through presentation, video, handouts, and "cruiser cards." The officers also receive training on how to identify people who suffer from Alzheimer's disease and other dementia. Officers are advised that written documentation such as warnings or citations should be issued when older drivers commit traffic infractions to track drivers who may be suffering from reduced driving capabilities. The police department follows up on the violations to see if a driver should be re-examined.

Officer Bailey speaks with senior clubs, councils on aging, and police departments throughout Massachusetts on older drivers issues. The Waltham Police Department provides literature and brochures to the audiences.

In November 2002, Officer Bailey presented a one-hour segment titled, "The Impaired Older Driver" at a seminar on Elder Safety and Alzheimer's disease in Athol, Massachusetts. Officer Bailey provided commentary on older drivers on the training video, "Safe Return and Law Enforcement, Saving Lives Together," produced by the Alzheimer's Association and fund-ed through a grant from the United States Department of Justice.

The Waltham Police Department reviews all traffic collisions that involve older drivers to determine what, if any, course of action should be taken relative to their driving status. The department has a partnership with the Geriatric Task Force, which is a consortium of local professionals dedicated to addressing quality of life needs for senior citizens. Referrals are in place with the agency to refer older drivers to other means of transportation and social service providers.

Contact:

Officer Jon Bailey
Waltham Police Department
155 Lexington Street
Waltham, MA 02452
Web site: www.city.waltham.ma.us/
Phone: (781) 314-3153
E-mail: jbailey@police.waltham.ma.us

The Franklin County, Massachusetts Sheriff's Office dedicates five sworn officers to the TRIAD unit. The TRIAD unit has personally contacted 1,868 senior citizens in this rural county. During the initial contact with the senior citizens, a deputy provides literature on a variety of topics related to crime prevention and discusses special needs. One such publication, "Older Drivers - Making Changes for the Better," provides information to seniors on self-assessment, skills needed for driving, how aging may affect driving, small steps and adjustments to becoming a safer driver, general safety tips, and local transportation options. The sheriff's office offers an elderly care call directory for senior citizens, which provides them with information on the "silver line" transportation system. For a nominal cost, the bus service is available to transport senior citizens to and from grocery stores, medical facilities, and other necessary appointments. The Franklin County Jail printing press is used to print the handouts. Funding for the TRIAD officers is provided through the sheriff's annual budget.

In addition to the personal contacts, the TRIAD officers speak to senior groups and fraternal organizations in the county about senior issues to include safe driving and alternative transportation. The sheriff's office coordinates the AARP Driver Safety Program and provides meeting space and refreshments.

When the sheriff's office discovers that a driver is no longer safe to operate a motor vehicle, the TRIAD officers contact the driver's family to identify alternative transportation options and strategies to keep the driver as independent as possible before the motor vehicle department process is completed.

Contact:

Captain Howard Shepherd, Sr.
Franklin County Sheriff's Office
160 Elm Street
Greenfield, MA 01301
Phone: (413) 774-4726
Fax: (413) 774-6641