Posts Tagged ‘Driver’
Recently released data has shown that there are 191 motorists on British roads aged over 100, while the number of licence holders over the age of 70 has passed four million for the first time ever. The oldest licence holder in Britain is a woman aged 107.
The statistics bring up questions about the UK’s regulatory policy regarding older drivers. The law currently states that after the age of 70 drivers are required to say that they are fit to drive every three years. However, at the moment this is determined by self-assessment, with no obligation for medical or driving tests.
The existing system raises two major issues. Firstly, there is concern that a number of older drivers are declaring themselves fit to drive when in reality they may not be. Others may risk severely impairing their quality of life by surrendering their licences before it is strictly necessary.
For a number of older drivers their car is their only means of remaining independent, allowing them to manage their life and social activities relatively unconstrained. Removing this access to self-sufficiency risks isolating older members of the population and could have a further impact upon their physical and psychological health.
Motoring organisations are suggesting that older drivers need advice to help them determine a realistic view of any future motoring career. At this stage compulsory testing or medical examinations is not on the cards. Instead there is a call for a change in attitude both of older drivers, who need to take a more subjective view about their driving capacity and the younger drivers around them who may be dismissive of their capabilities.
Older Drivers Are Safer
In fact, statistically Britain’s older drivers are one of the safest groups on the road. 6% of UK licence holders are aged 75 or over, but the same age group is involved in only 4.3% of fatal accidents or those resulting in serious injuries. By contrast, 13% of serious accidents involve drivers aged between 16 and 20, even though this age group accounts for only 2.5% of the total number of licence holders.
A recently published guide, ‘Driving Safely for Life’, is aimed at helping Britain’s elderly population stay mobile safely. While there is no obligation for mandatory testing, common sense dictates that regular eyesight tests should be carried out, while older drivers also need to make sure they follow administrative regulations by paying careful attention to car maintenance such as service intervals and MoT certification and ensuring they are adequately insured. Policies designed for older drivers can be useful and you can compare car insurance quotes online.
Older drivers uncertain about their driving abilities should consider a refresher course or assessment by a qualified professional or at a mobility centre. Higher traffic volumes and more complex road layouts can be confusing or stressful, while impaired mobility in the form of stiff or weak joints can impact driving capability. A visit to the doctor can be useful both to tackle physical problems and to make sure that any medicines you may be taking will not affect your behaviour behind the wheel. Sometimes a smaller or more modern car or specially designed adaptations may be necessary to keep you safely mobile and independent.