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Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Advises Seniors on Safe Driving Programs

News: 2011 Press Release

For Release: April 1, 2011
Media Calls Only: 916-492-3566
Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones Advises Seniors on Safe Driving Programs
Notes Significant Spike in Senior Population Growth; Challenges with New Car Technology

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones and the Automobile Club of Southern California today announced safe driving programs and an expo for all California seniors to consider when making daily trips.

"I believe it is extremely important for seniors to know that assistance is available via a driving course that allows a discount on premiums for those seniors who complete it," said Commissioner Dave Jones. "

"In California, the population of those age 65 and older is expected to double by 2020, which means we will see a much larger volume of older drivers on the road," Robert Bouttier, president and COO of the Automobile Club of Southern California. "The Auto Club is committed to helping these drivers stay behind the wheel as long as they can safely do so."

Beginning this year, the population age 65 and older will grow faster than the total population in every single state, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. The Los Angeles area also has one of the highest concentrations of seniors statewide, according to the CHP.

Nearly one-in-three Americans don't know where to turn for information and help regarding senior driver issues according to Auto Club research.

Another great way for seniors to maintain a high standard of driving safety is through continued driver training. No matter how much experience a senior driver has behind the wheel, a refresher course can reinforce good driving skills, teach new skills, and help eliminate bad habits. Updates on the latest defensive driving techniques for senior drivers can also help seniors redirect their thinking about driving and develop strategies for staying safe behind the wheel as they age.

But there is another important component to continued driver training&a financial one, in fact.

Under the California Insurance Code, drivers 55 years of age and older, upon proof of completing a senior driver improvement course approved by the California Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), are entitled to a discount on their auto insurance. For help in locating an approved senior driver improvement course near you, consult your local DMV office, check the DMV's Web site www.dmv.ca.gov, or call the DMV's toll free consumer line (800) 777-0133.

Commissioner Jones also strongly encourages senior drivers to visit our web site at www.insurance.ca.gov or call us at 800-927-HELP if they are looking for additional information or wish to have any questions or concerns addressed.

Newer vehicles have a number of technologies and devices that can aid and protect older drivers, according to the Auto Club. They have backing aids, adaptive cruise control, rear and side view mirrors that dim automatically, improved headlights, systems to ease getting in and out of the vehicle, navigation and lane departure warning systems, adjustable pedals, tilt and telescoping steering wheels and dash displays with easy-to-read gauges.

"However, these devices certainly don't replace human judgment and shouldn't be depended upon by drivers to make important driving decisions," added Bouttier.

Additionally, the Automobile Club of Southern California (AAA) will hold its first ever Senior Driver Expo will be held on Saturday, April 2nd from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Auto Club's Headquarters located at 2601 S. Figueroa St. The event is free, open to the public and free parking is available off of W. 27th Street. Along with accessing senior driving materials, community resources and hands-on learning opportunities, guests can greet public television personality and travel host Huell Howser who will be at the fair which is being held in the Mega Room. Attendees may register for the expo by calling the Auto Club at 877-740-8968.

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The California Department of Insurance, established in 1868, is the largest consumer protection agency in California, regulating the $123 billion insurance marketplace. In 2013 the California Department of Insurance received more than 170,000 calls from consumers and helped recover over $63 million in claims and premiums. Please visit the Department of Insurance web site at www.insurance.ca.gov. Non-media inquiries should be directed to the Consumer Hotline at 800.927.HELP or 213.897.8921. Telecommunications Devices for the Deaf (TDD), please dial 800.482.4833.

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