Conn. Driving Instructor, 93, Teaches Safety to Students in Their 60s

April 3, 2006

As a driving instructor, Morton Morrison of Danbury, Conn. finds that he can still teach the “kids” something new about driving safely.

Morrison is 93 and the kids are people in their 60s who have been getting some driving tips through AARP’s safe-driving refresher program, which is provided at senior centers in Danbury and other area towns.

“We learned an awful lot from him about things like new road safety rules,” said Teresa Candela, 67, of Brookfield, a retired insurance company typist and one of Morrison’s former students.

Students sit in a classroom instead of going out on the road.

“I coach classes seven to ten times a year,” Morrison said recently. “I think I’m a better driver now than I was 30 years ago. I know the teaching manual backwards. Sometimes I even dream about it.”

Morrison, was born April 15, 1912, the day The Titanic sank, and has an affinity for teaching. He taught in the New York City school system for 36 years and spent a good part of his 30 years in Florida with his wife, Sylvia, teaching at Palm Beach Community College.

Morrison began coaching refresher driving courses for seniors in 2001 when he and his wife returned to Danbury.

Although he restricts his driving instruction to the classroom, Morrison still drives himself around.

“I know every back road around here,” Morrison said. “It’s important for everyone to know exactly where they’re going when they’re driving.”

Morrison says he’s surprised so many people don’t know all the roads in their neighborhood and how to tap into modern driving aids.

“If I’m going somewhere I always get on the computer, find a map and print it out,” Morrison said. “It works beautifully. Some people are afraid of computers, especially if they’re elderly.”

Kathy Capellaro, 60, a self-employed health nutritionist who lives in Danbury, took one of Morrison’s courses earlier this year.

“It was such a wonderful experience,” said Capellaro. “None of us are too old to learn. I’d take the course again in a heartbeat.”

Morrison said it is never to late to set new goals in life, including hitting the century mark.

“I’ve always had goals,” said Morrison. “When I reach 2012 I’ll make new plans.”

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