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Mini roundabouts could replace T-junctions to make life safer for older drivers

T-junctions across the UK should be replaced by mini roundabouts to improve road safety for older drivers, a safety organisation has urged.

Statistics reveal drivers aged over 75 are twice as likely to die at a T-junction compared with younger drivers – and the situation is likely to get worse as Britain’s population continues to age.

The Older Drivers Task Force said Britain’s aging population needs to be better accommodated.

Chair of the group, John Plowman, said: “Our road transport system has been designed for use by fit, middle-aged motorists… Looked at through an older driver’s prism, the current road system doesn’t do them much favours.

“But with careful planning and design, it could be so much better, not only for the older motorist but for all motorists.”

The number of over-70s has increased from 6.6 to 7.6 million between 2000 and 2014 and of that age group, four out of five men and half of women have a driving licence.

Meanwhile older drivers are four times more likely to die in road accidents as their age makes it harder to recover from injury.

The task force’s main recommendation was for the government to replace T-junctions with roundabouts, given than 15 per cent of all crashes for over-65s occur at T-junctions, rising to 30 per cent for those aged over 75.

Roundabouts are said to present a much safer alternative as the number of road accidents are fewer overall and, more importantly, the risk remains the same as the age of the driver increases.

Road Minister Andrew Jones MP said it would consider the proposal, adding that: “We are committed to improving road safety, including exploring issues faced by older drivers.

“Britain’s roads are among the safest in the world and we must strike the right balance between safety and personal mobility and we will carefully consider the recommendations.

“Age on its own is not a barrier to safe driving. We keep the current rules under review which make clear all drivers must report any medical conditions which might affect their driving.”

It is worth noting that drivers aged over 70 represented just 9 per cent of all driver casualties in 2011, compared with those aged under 30 who accounted for 20 per cent of the driving population and caused 35 per cent of all driving-related road casualties.

Critics argue those who are unable to negotiate a T-junction should have their licence taken away, but that would isolate older drivers who are anything but a danger to other road users and is unlikely to be enforceable unless the laws surrounding the issue are changed.

Current law stipulates that drivers can choose when to give up their driving licence unless a medical condition affects their driving (and they admit as such to the DVLA) and those aged over 70 must renew their licence every three years.

Do you think the government should make T-junctions a thing of the past? Or should old people work harder to prove they are still safe at the wheel? Let us know.

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