More drivers over 90 on the road than ever before

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Figures from the DVLA reveal the number of people in the UK aged 90 or older who hold a driving licence has topped figures at 100,281

Elderly Driver

Out of the 39 million motorists who carry a valid driving licence in Britain, 4.5 million are over 70.

These figures are steadily rising, with the Road Safety Foundation estimating the number of drivers over 85 will double to 1,000,000 by 2025. The law states once an individual is over 70 they have to reapply for their licence every three years. There’s no driving or medical tests to complete, but they do have to make a medical declaration that may lead to the DVLA carrying out further investigations.

The debate concerning elderly drivers is ongoing, with some arguing the older generations are the most dangerous on the roads. However, the AA revealed in April 2017 that drivers over 60 have fewer crashes on the roads than any younger age groups. As well as this, the Road Safety Foundation has made claims the risk of a driver over 70 killing a pedestrian is less than that of a middle-age driver, and half that of a driver aged up to 25.

However, action is still needed. Comparatively, for every mile driven on UK roads, the risk of a person aged 80 and above being killed is 10 times higher than the lowest risk 40-49 year old. The Road Safety Foundation made recommendations to the government in their 2016 strategy, in order to tackle the vulnerability of this rising age group:

  • Research into Catastrophic Claims
  • Raise the mandatory age for self declaration to 75
  • The DVLA should require evidence of a recent eyesight test
  • Development of an alternative to self-drive, such as bundles of taxi rides with quality providers
  • Safer road design, to align with similar guidance in the USA, Australia and New Zealand
  • Safer vehicles
  • Driver Appraisal Schemes which the Department of Transport should support, where the elderly can attend voluntary, unthreatening courses led by trusted organisations, where they can refresh their driving skills.

John Plowman, spokesman for Roadsafe, said: “People are living longer, healthier, more active lives, and driving longer. This influx of older drivers has important economic and social value, but it also presents road safety risks if we don’t adapt.

“Getting to grips with these risks, without limiting the independence and freedoms of the elderly is an important policy challenge – one to be tackled by the appointment of a minister with responsibility for older drivers.”

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