The Clinton Herald, Clinton, Iowa

September 28, 2013

Driving class is important

By Randy Meier
The Clinton Herald

---- — In May of this year, Seniors vs Crime co-sponsored the AARP Safe Driving Class, held at Clinton Community College’s Technology Center. The class proved so popular, we closed registration, putting some folks on a waiting list.

Because of this demand, we are co-sponsoring the class again. The class is scheduled for Oct. 29, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., with a very nice lunch provided. The location remains the same, the Technology Center at 1951 Manufacturing Drive in Clinton.

Why should you consider this class? Consider these things. Cars change. Roads change. Traffic rules and traffic patterns change. The behavior of other drivers changes. This is demonstrated by the widespread use of cellphones while driving. And we change, as we age.

It’s a rare driver whose vision improves with age. Driving after dark may become more challenging. Our hearing may deteriorate. Physical reaction times can increase.

Does this mean older drivers don’t drive well? No, but we can improve. The AARP course teaches:

• How to minimize effects of blind spots

• How to maintain safe following distance behind another car

• Safest ways to change lanes and make turns at busy intersections

• Proper use of safety belts, air bags, anti-lock brakes, and new technology in cars

• Effects of medication on driving

• Monitoring and assessing your driving skills and those of others

• Eliminating distractions

If you want to participate in this class, you need to register. To do so, call (888) 336-3907 at Eastern Iowa Community College District, or call Clinton Community College at 244-7100. You need to register for Safe Driving Class, Course No. 128435 ($14 cost for non-AARP members), or if you are an AARP member, course No. 128439 ($12 cost). It is the same class. You can also register online by visiting www.eicc.edu/ceregistration.

Scam trends

1. Free Groceries — Several people notified me they received phone calls promising them $3,000 in groceries or to pay general expenses, if they registered for some medical alert system. The callers are told this is government money earmarked for senior citizens. It is a complete hoax. If you get such a call, note the incoming number if you can, and hang up. Give me a call to tell me about it.

2. Driveway Sealing — An elderly rural Clinton woman reported two out-of-state men came to her house and offered to seal her blacktop driveway for $650. She agreed with their offer. The men sprayed a black liquid on the driveway and left. A rainstorm arrived almost as soon as the men left and the black liquid completely washed off. The men cashed the check almost immediately.

These transient types did not obtain the required county-issued permit to solicit door to door, nor did they present the woman with any kind of written contract, also required by law. These contracts must include a notice of the purchaser’s right of cancellation within three days.

If someone comes to your door selling blacktop sealer, farm gates, meat, asphalt, roofing, any of these things, they must show you a peddler’s permit. If they don’t show one, don’t even talk to them. As the elderly woman in rural Clinton found out, these are scammers.

3. Affordable Care Act, Insurance Marketplace — This is something we will hear much more about in the coming weeks. Oct. 1 is the enrollment date for the health care reform insurance marketplace. Consumer protection agencies are sounding the alarm, about phone scammers calling to market insurance. For those on Medicare, this is really pretty simple. Nothing is changing in Medicare. This is the advice from Medicare, “You don’t need to do anything with the Marketplace.” Anyone trying to sell you something additional is trying to scam you.

4. Scam emails from FBI — The Federal Bureau of Investigation has a new director, James Comey, sworn in on Sept. 4. Already scam emails are going out, supposedly signed by him. These emails show different variations, but all want you to send money for some purpose. All are a hoax. The FBI or any federal agency does not send out unsolicited emails. Don’t respond to anything like this. If you have questions, contact me.

Please contact me if you think someone tried to defraud or scam you, or especially if someone did defraud you. I am available to assist you in these matters. You can reach me by calling for Seniors vs. Crime at the Clinton Co Sheriff’s Office at 242-9211, ext. 4433.

Randy Meier is the director of Seniors vs. Crime, which operates in conjunction with the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office.