Eight years ago, Carroll King became a trained volunteer instructor of the 55 ALIVE Mature Driving class or as he prefers to call it, a Defensive Driving class. His goal is to instill better driving habits into seniors who learned to drive years ago and have not changed their habits according to increased traffic and the fact that age makes updated driving skills necessary.
About 23% of Florida’s population are retired seniors over 60 years of age from different states and countries, yet Florida does not have a regular re-assessment of driver’s skills which make the highways extremely dangerous.
King holds classes four to five days per week, teaching not only the laws of driving but gently chides his students about their bad driving habits. He is the only instructor certified by the Marion County Sheriff’s Office to teach the drivers in the Neighborhood Watch Program before they are allowed to drive official cars. King’s classroom is a display of auto safety items and news clippings about driving accidents.
In 1998 and 1999, King had more classes and students than any instructor in the United States. Each year, the Prudential Insurance Company donated $1,000 to the Florida Center for the Blind in King’s honor.
King is also an active member of the Florida Lions Club. In Marion County, he has collected thousands of used eye glasses for the Lions distribution program to anyone unable to purchase glasses. He received the Lions International President’s Award for his devotion to serving others as a 55 Alive instructor. He is a member of Trinity Lutheran Church where he sings in the choir. For three years he was a trustee and opened the doors at 6:00 a.m. to prepare for an 8:00 a.m. service. King collects items for benefit yard sales and he is the official photographer for the church.