Recent figures issued by the motor industry for new car sales in August show that one in 12 of all new vehicle sales, a record amount, are now accounted for by electric cars, as sales of higher polluting diesel powered vehicles fell significantly, meaning some 8% of new vehicle registrations are now for electric or hybrid vehicles.
If you compare August sales to those of a year earlier, the figures reveal an even more significant rise, with sales up an astonishing 89% year on year, whilst diesel sales declined for the seventeenth consecutive month.
Clearly this trend is good news for us all from a health perspective. We all know that diesel cars are the heaviest polluters on our roads and that pollution levels in many cities have been, and remain, dangerously high. Therefore, anything that can be done to reduce vehicle emissions should be welcomed.
But these figures got me thinking about the potential detrimental effects of these vehicles for older people. Put quite simply, you can’t hear an electric vehicle approaching on the road in the same way as you can a petrol or diesel powered vehicle. With many older people hard of hearing and suffering from sight defects, the increase in electric powered vehicles could lead to more accidents and collisions with older people crossing the road.
The seasons come and go so quickly, and now that September is here, so is autumn, whether we like it or not. And with autumn comes the annual campaign to remind those of you who are eligible, that it is time to consider your annual flu vaccination. Most Mature Times readers will find that they are eligible to receive a free vaccination, either because of their age (over 65), their health (certain medical conditions automatically qualify you irrespective of age), or because they are a carer or receive a carer’s allowance.
It’s important to have the vaccination if you qualify and early vaccination is encouraged, as the full effects and benefits take about two weeks to fully enter your immune system. This year, the vaccination has been changed and strengthened after reflecting on the evidence from the effectiveness of previous years’ vaccinations. Contact your doctors’ surgery, who will be able to give you more information.
I’m sure, like me, you get increasingly frustrated as you walk down the street and see a person (normally a lot younger than you) striding towards you, head down and engrossed in their mobile phone, completely oblivious to everything else that is happening around them. Quite often they are so absorbed that you have to take evasive action to avoid colliding with them and all you probably get for your efforts is a grunt of an apology for doing so.
So, like me, you will probably welcome the fact that this month has been designated “Scroll Free September” in a campaign organised by the Royal Society for Public Health that is asking people to either cut back, or give up completely, use of their social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
Call me a cynic, but I doubt it will have much effect, although its purpose is to be lauded – anything that improves our face to face communication with our fellow human beings in this day and age should be applauded – after all, the art of conversation is not yet dead – although it might be suffering from a bit of old age!