All over the country, volunteers are sharing information about defensive driving and helping drivers 50 and older adjust to age-related physical changes. Research has shown that AARP’s eight-hour classroom course makes a difference in how people drive, and ultimately helps to reduce accidents.
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This course is so respected that auto insurance companies in 36 states and the District of Columbia offer a premium discount to course participants. Even people who still work can become involved.
More than 9,000 volunteers across the country deliver, manage, and promote the program at the local level. They include volunteer instructors, who teach the course, and volunteer coordinators, who manage the program in specific locations.
Instructors conduct AARP Driver Safety Program courses, using videos and workbooks developed for the program. In addition, they promote and organize courses. Instructors are required to teach a minimum of three classes each year, but many willingly teach more. The schedule can be very flexible—in many cases the instructor sets the hours and can teach classes on weekdays, weekends, or evenings.
The most important qualities for instructors are good communication skills and a strong interest in promoting safe driving. Instructors receive initial training and participate in annual or semiannual local instructor workshops to maintain and enhance their skills.
Coordinators manage the AARP Driver Safety Program in a specific area. Their main responsibilities include recruiting and supervising instructors, completing instructor reviews, planning and conducting annual or semiannual instructor workshops, promoting the program, and working with local sponsors.
Coordinators are chosen for their management and leadership abilities. They should also have a thorough knowledge of the community they serve. Coordinators are required to attend planning meetings in their state as needed, usually once or twice a year.
Volunteers are reimbursed for approved out-of-pocket expenses, such as mileage, parking, postage, long-distance phone calls, and basic supplies. The Driver Safety Program is recruiting volunteers from all over Mississippi. To get more information about becoming an AARP Driver Safety Program instructor call, 1-888-227-7669 or visit www.aarp.org/drive.