Administrative Code

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Virginia Administrative Code
Title 24. Transportation And Motor Vehicles
Agency 20. Department of Motor Vehicles
Chapter 40. Rules and Regulations on Accident Prevention Courses for Older Drivers

24VAC20-40-30. Course contents and instructional methodology.

A. Course contents shall focus specifically on the information needs of drivers aged 55 years and older. To allow maximum time for this focus, content which is irrelevant or more appropriate to young or inexperienced drivers should be excluded. The curriculum shall include, but not necessarily be limited to, the following subjects:

1. Vision and other physical problems which tend to accompany increasing age; how these problems may affect driving performance; how to compensate for the problems;

2. Fatigue; drugs, both over-the-counter and prescription; alcohol; the interaction of drugs, alcohol, fatigue and other conditions; effect on driving and precautionary measures;

3. Updates on recent signs, signals, and pavement markings;

4. Travel time and route selection for optimal driving conditions; alternatives to driving offered by public transportation, senior citizen groups, and other organizations;

5. Safety belts and the special needs of older people to use them;

6. Updates on safe and defensive driving under modern conditions; e.g., the 3-second following distance, how to deal with tailgaters; lane positioning; safe passing; safe turning; freeway entrance and exit; maintaining prevailing speed; right-of-way rules; driver's responsibility to yield; and

7. Techniques to gain increased time for decisions; e.g., situations requiring greater following distance; pre-trip planning; passenger assistance; recognizing hazards in time; unfamiliar areas and construction areas.

B. Instructional methods shall be used which capitalize on the greater experience level of the older adult and which provide ample opportunity for participants to relate the material to past experience and present needs.

1. Courses shall provide a minimum of eight hours of classroom presentation and discussion. This eight hours of time shall be divided over at least a two-day period, in order to allow time for better integration and comprehension of the safety concepts.

2. Courses shall incorporate a high level of student-instructor interaction and structured group discussions in order to relate the concepts to past experiences.

3. Vision and other physical problems should be considered in designing instructional materials and aids and classroom setup.

4. Courses shall focus on factual information, its meaning, and how to apply it in driving. Shock effects and scare tactics are to be avoided.

5. Course materials shall be clearly and simply written, avoid technical terms, and be printed in large enough type to be easily legible. Insofar as practical, written materials should be personal in tone; e.g., use "you" instead of "the older driver." The materials should focus on specific driving information needs, rather than present age itself as a problem. Terms which emphasize aging, such as "elderly," should be avoided, since research has shown that people do not tend to identify with such terms. Illustrations, in addition, should not present physical stereotypes of older persons.

6. Films, filmstrips, and audio recordings shall not exceed an aggregate of one quarter of the total presentation time.

7. One or more written examinations shall be given to cover all subject areas, with scoring and feedback to reinforce learning.

8. Classes may not exceed 35 students or the maximum capacity of the accommodation, whichever is less. Classroom facilities shall provide adequate lighting, space, ventilation, and freedom from distracting noise.

Statutory Authority

§§ 46.2-203 and 38.2-2217 of the Code of Virginia.

Historical Notes

Derived from VR485-50-8401 § 3, eff. October 28, 1984.

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