Traffic Police kit helps seniors to 'master' roads

The Traffic Police distributed test kits to 1,000 residents at the Bedok Community for All Ages day yesterday. The kit allows seniors to test their sight and reflexes.
The Traffic Police distributed test kits to 1,000 residents at the Bedok Community for All Ages day yesterday. The kit allows seniors to test their sight and reflexes.PHOTO: LIANHE ZAOBAO

Free kit targeted at those 60 and above aims to test their road sense and strengthen their road safety awareness

When crossing the road, how likely are you to notice a pothole from the corner of your eye, or the bus service number from a distance?

The Traffic Police (TP) are using these questions in a kit launched yesterday to test seniors' road sense and strengthen their road safety awareness. The kit is targeted at those aged 60 and above.

In 2014, 195 elderly pedestrians were involved in traffic accidents. This rose to 229 last year. In the first half of this year, it was 122 with 12 fatalities, up from 104 in the same period last year with 10 fatalities.

There were also more accidents involving jaywalkers who are seniors. In the first half of this year, there were 43 accidents, compared to 28 in the same period last year.

Last month, three elderly pedestrians died in accidents, according to media reports. TP said the common causes of fatal accidents involving elderly pedestrians last year were jaywalking, motorists failing to keep a proper lookout, and not giving way to pedestrians, who had the right of way, when turning.

TP yesterday distributed the Road Master Test Kits to 1,000 residents at the Bedok Community for All Ages day. A further 5,000 kits will be given out at events and at accident hot spots such as Chinatown, Toa Payoh and Serangoon next year.

The kit comes in three parts and allows seniors to test their reflexes and sight using self-administered tests. With instructions in four languages, it also includes a questionnaire on their hearing ability.

Besides checking how quickly they can catch a falling object, seniors will be asked to hold an illustration of a busy road at arm's length while wearing an eye-patch to evaluate their peripheral vision.

"(This kit) is one initiative designed to help the elderly understand how big an impact their health has on their safety on the roads," said Senior Assistant Commissioner of Police Sam Tee, who is TP Commander.

While most seniors are careful when their children or grandchildren are involved, they may hold their own well-being in lower regard, he added.

SAC Tee hopes the kit can become a conversation starter within families to persuade the elderly to be more aware. Bedok resident Annie Ng, 70, who works as a dish collector, was among those who tested their vision at TP's booth yesterday.

"When we walk, we have to be wary because the ground may be uneven," said the grandmother of two, who intends to try out the kit at home. "This test reinforces the importance of safety. Sometimes, the elderly can be stubborn when you try to give them reminders."

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 14, 2016, with the headline 'Traffic Police kit helps seniors to 'master' roads'. Print Edition | Subscribe