All time high of over 70’s with licence’s on the road
191 Drivers aged 100 and older with driving licences
The RAC has reported that the oldest licence holder is a 107 year old woman. They also reported that there are over four million people aged over seventy with full British driving licences which is an all time high. The question is should the law change for elderly drivers? Once motorists reach 70 they must declare every three years whether or not they are fit to drive without having to take a driving or medical examination. The concerns are that some elderly people could be continuing to drive when they are not fit to do so, while others give up their cars too early and risk exclusion from services and activities.
The RAC Foundation report notes ‘the number of older people with driving licences has exceeded the four million mark. While not all of these licence holders will be active drivers the statistics illustrate the growing number of older people who still use a car and the total is set to increase dramatically.’ The Government has predicted that of the UK citizens alive today, around ten million will reach their 100th birthday.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said “all drivers should regularly consider their fitness to drive, but matters come to a head when we reach 70 and have to declare that we should be on the roads. In general, older drivers have an enviable safety record, but it is clear that faced with this critical yes-or-no decision, many motorists simply do not have a realistic view of their capabilities. For those reliant on a car, giving up driving will have a huge impact on their ability to live an active life, so it is important that they get all the help and support to make the right decision at the right time.” To help people make ‘the right decision’ the RAC Foundation is supporting the publication of a new guide called ‘Driving Safely for Life’, which aims to keep older people mobile and safe for longer.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists did call for a new class of licence which would see frail elderly motorists banned from motorways and the fastest dual carriageways, while still allowing them to drive elsewhere. There have also been calls from motoring groups for road signs to have bigger lettering to cope with Britain’s ageing motoring population, even though statistics show that drivers born before the war are among the safest on the road. Figures do show that drivers aged 75 and over make up 6 per cent of all licence holders but account for just 4.3 per cent of accidents involving death or serious injury. The younger generation shows a different story with the 16-20 year olds making up just 2.5% of all drivers but involved in 13% of accidents which people are killed or seriously injured.