CALCASIEU PARISH, LA (KPLC) - When senior citizens should stop driving is something many families struggle with, but a local course is here to make that decision a little easier.
The Calcasieu Parish Sheriff's Office is teamed up with AARP to offer defensive driver courses for people across southwest Louisiana.
Louisiana ranks second in the nation in train fatalities according to defensive driver course instructor Barbara McManus. That fact was a main point at Thursday's course.
"We all need to drive safer," said McManus. "Be courteous to the person driving around us. We need to be more careful in watching for what's on the road and how we can avoid a crash."
Course members received a refresher of driving laws and tips on how to remain safe.
"We have road rage now," said course member Margaret Jackson. "People don't obey stop signs. The kids getting off the bus. It's just been a wake up call. And I think we all need to take it."
"I've learned several different things that I wasn't aware of," said course member Eva Rachal. "Stopping at four way stop signs, which drivers have the right of way."
Many of the course members haven't experienced any form of driver's education in years.
"The times have changed with our traffic situations and the road signs are different," said Rachal. "The speeds of the cars are different. And there are so many distractions on the road."
The driving course is open to both members and non-members of AARP, and it isn't just for senior citizens.
"You can take it at any age," said McManus. "One of the main reasons this course is taken is to get a reduction in your insurance."
That's right. Depending on your provider, you may receive a discount off of your automobile insurance. The discount may only be 5-10%, but the course is good for three years. Jackson encourages others to take advantage of the opportunity.
"You will enjoy your time here and you will learn and become more aware of how to be a better driver as we get older," said Jackson.
The courses are offered periodically throughout the year. For more information on the courses and when they're offered you can contact Barbara McManus with the defensive driving program at (337) 433-8910.