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Government urged to tackle ageing driver population

The number of drivers aged over 70 in Britain has hit 4.34 million, leading to calls for the government to help address a generation of motorists who will be driving well beyond the retirement age.

Road safety charity, The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), said the government, medical professionals and assessment providers will need to work together to combat the safety issues associated with getting old.

The research highlighted common factors in a road accident involving those aged 70 and over, including failing to judge the other person’s path or speed, losing control, illness or disability, dazzling sun, nervousness, anxiety or panic and poor turn-in manoeuvre ─ all stemming from deteriorating physical and cognitive functioning.

IAM chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “People are living longer and therefore there are many more drivers on the roads that are past retirement age. We want these drivers to enjoy their motoring for as long as possible, so we want some thought and resources to go into how we can allow this to happen.”

There were just 3.9 million over-70s on UK roads in 2012. Government estimations believe the number will rise to 9.5 million in 20 years. Currently the oldest driver in Britain is aged 107.

Although more and more drivers are getting older, research has actually found they are involved in fewer accidents than those under the age of 60. In 2011, for instance, 9 per cent of drivers were over 70 but only represented six per cent of driver casualties.

Drivers under 30, meanwhile, made up 20 per cent of drivers and 35 per cent of casualties. So before you start blaming old Granddad for being dangerous, bear in mind the younger generations are a bigger problem.

IAM is also urging car manufacturers to consider older people when designing their vehicles and on-road driving assessments that would allow oldies to keep tabs on their skills.

Data from 2013 revealed there are 195 drivers aged over 100 on UK roads.

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