Who's the better driver, the teenager or the senior citizen?
York County just might find out next week.
The inaugural Safe Driving Competition for Mature Drivers will test 16 drivers, age 60 and up, on aspects of safe driving through a written test, perceptual test and driving range.
They will compete at the 19th annual Prime of Life festival on Tuesday at the York Expo Center.
Like the annual York/Adams Safe Driving Competition for Youth, the event is organized in part by the county's Center for Traffic Safety.
"We're pretty excited about it," said Wayne Harper, director of the center.
Youth vs. experience: Bryan Sellers, chairman of the York Area Highway Safety Council, came up with the idea to have the competition for older drivers, Harper said. So the center worked with the council's Mature Driver Safety Committee and the York Area Agency on Aging to host the competition.
It will be modeled after the youth contest, with a few alterations to the written test to make it more relevant to older participants, he said. Harper said he's not expecting them to ace the written test, even though they were given copies of the Pennsylvania Driver's Manual to study.
"Some of these drivers who are going to be in the competition haven't looked at a manual since they were 16," he said.
And the perceptual test, which tests situational knowledge based on 10-second visual clips, could also be difficult — an older person's eyes aren't as good as a teen's, Harper said.
"But at the same time, the older drivers have the experience," he said, noting the driving range. "Some of these drivers might whip into the parallel park without thinking."
The competition will provide important data about the abilities of older drivers, Harper said.
"We have no idea at this point what to expect in the performance of these drivers," he said. "It is going to tell us a lot about the older drivers."
Event details: Celebrity drivers — state Rep. Keith Gillespie, County Commissioner Doug Hoke and Stan Brown, owner of Brown's Orchards and Farm Market — will also participate.
"I just think it's gonna be a lot of fun," Harper said.
The event is being billed as the "world's first" — organizers have done some research and are not aware of anything else like it, he said. Next year, they want to reach out to more organizations and get more seniors involved, he said.
And the event is for more than bragging rights. The best team of three from five senior centers — Heritage Senior Center (Dover Township), Red Lion Senior Center (York Township), September House Senior Center (West York), White Rose Senior Center (York City) and Windy Hill Senior Center (Spring Grove) — will earn its center $500 and a trophy from sponsor WellSpan Health.
WellSpan will also give $300 to the first-place overall individual winner and $100 to the first-place winner in each of the three competition phases. Sponsor A&S Services Group will give $200 to the second-place winner and $100 to the third-place winner.
There will be free parking and admission to the festival, which runs from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and spectators are welcome to watch the drivers on the range between 10:30 a.m. and 12:15 p.m.
— Reach Mollie Durkin at firstname.lastname@example.org.