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Elderly pedestrian safety focus in Tenerife
TRAFFIC authorities are working closely with Tenerife's island government to try to prevent elderly pedestrians from being run over through a joint campaign aimed at protecting walkers most at risk.
The taskforce was set up this week after the Cabildo, or island council, noticed a sharp rise in the number of accidents involving senior citizens.
OAPs are particularly vulnerable because of their mobility problems and, in some cases, reduced cognitive functions, says Spain's General Directorate of Traffic (DGT), and special preventive measures need to be in place to keep them safe.
The project team is seeking to make elderly pedestrians aware of the importance of making themselves as visible as possible when crossing streets or walking along roads with no pavements, encouraging them to 'act safely' and giving them pointers about how to avoid accidents.
Senior citizens, and drivers of all ages, are being targeted in a campaign to highlight the main factors or causes involved in pedestrian injuries, and to teach the elderly how to recognise their own physical and mental limitations as they age and how these can put them in danger.
Campaign organisers say they aim to teach seniors how to compensate for reduced mobility, memory, hearing, eyesight and general cognitive functions such as speed of reaction and decision-making.
Presentations, leaflets and talks at social gatherings, plus the distribution of reflective jackets, are part of the project, which aims to reach out to as many OAPs as possible.
Local Police officers and medical professionals are expected to take part in the campaign.
If they target pensioners' clubs, social centres and associations with elderly members, the DGT and the Cabildo of Tenerife expect to be able to target at least 3,500 seniors.
Road safety education programmes are regularly organised in most towns in Spain, but they generally target children and focus on schools – very few have been pointedly aimed at the elderly, and Tenerife hopes its initiative will spark similar campaigns elsewhere in the country.
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