DOWNTON Abbey creator, Lord Julian Fellowes is supporting Dorset Police as they launch a campaign to keep elderly drivers safe.

The Oscar winning screenwriter has publicly backed the Older Drivers' Forum, designed to help keep ageing drivers on the road safely and for longer.

Launching next month, the forum is made up of experts in road safety from across Dorset, with representatives from emergency services, charities, local authorities and other specialists.

Police will be offering training, advice and guidance for motorists who are keen to continue driving safely and resources for those who feel that the time is right to find alternative ways of getting around.

Lord Fellowes said: “The moment we should consider retiring from driving comes to all of us, and it must be reassuring to learn that there are now so many alternative methods of transport available and we can help with these."

The scheme aims to inform older drivers about the risks they face and ways to reduce them, help to identify when the time has come to retire from driving and offer relevant advice to family and friends and those within the medical profession.

Police Constable Heidi Moxam, road casualty reduction officer for Dorset Police, said: “In 2016, we had 125 collisions on Dorset roads where the driver was 70 years old or over, resulting in 217 casualties, including three who sadly lost their life.

“It is vital we invest resources in helping older drivers to be safe on the road and provide guidance and support to those who need to consider alternative methods of transport.

“An alternative to prosecution will also be available for low level offences where a bespoke set of circumstances suggest the driver needs further motoring and health assessments.”

At a series of launch events, officers from the Dorset Police traffic department and other members of the forum will be on hand to speak to older members of the community and their families.

Events will run from 10am until 3pm at the following locations :

n Tuesday, October 3, Haskins Garden Centre, Ferndown

n Wednesday, October 4, Castle Garden Centre, Sherborne

n Thursday, October 5, Wyevale Garden Centre, Owermoigne