Freedom Companion Drivers Keeps Seniors Safe on the Road

( New Zealand road fatalities in the 60+ age group are exceeding those
for the group which are widely regarded as the highest risk, according
to this month’s NZ transport Agency report. And as the aged population
continues to increase, so too will the fatality rates.

NZTA states that the total number of road fatalities up to 30 November
this year for 60+ group was higher in 2010 and 2011 than the 15-19 and
20-24 year groups. These facts are disturbing said Freedom Companion
Driving owner Andrew Nichols, yet not surprising.

“Many older drivers are forced to stay driving just to be able to
perform basic functions such as shopping, taking pets to the vet and
attending medical appointments. Public transport offers limited
options for the elderly, and those with special needs, taxis are
expensive and the cost of keeping a vehicle on the road is steep for
superannuitants, but they often don’t have much of a choice.“

Nichols established Freedom Companion Drivers in New Zealand last year
to meet a burgeoning demand for a personalised driving service for
those who may no longer have their drivers license but who don’t want
to lose their independence. Concerned family of older adults are among
the client base as are parents who want their children picked up from
school or delivered to after school activities safely and with he same
friendly face each time. To know that the same trusted driver will be
there every time, wait during appointments and ensure the client is
safely inside once home is a great reassurance for family of older
adults and for parents he said.

“ There’s a real need. Unless you’re experiencing it, you don’t
understand how difficult it is,” he said. “Car keys are a symbol of
independence and freedom for Kiwis and it can be a devastating
experience for those who lose the ability to drive. Healthcare and
hair appointments are among the reasons senior citizens need
transport. Going to church, attending family gatherings and running
weekly errands also rank highly,” Nichols said.

Freedom Companion Drivers has appointed a New Zealand master franchise
and has recently established an office in Australia.

“We’re also looking to provide a wide range of home based services to
our customers so we can cater to needs such as cleaning and in-home
care under the trusted Freedom banner,” Nichols said.

“With the population of senior citizens in New Zealand set to nearly
triple in coming years and the stresses on public transport services
it’s only going to get busier for us. Our biggest challenge right now
is finding great caring, customer focused Kiwis with the right fit as
franchisees. Our clients want someone they can relate to and rely on
to take the stress out of their outings and provide a helping hand
when needed,” Nichols said.

Media Release 17 December 2011.