Ever wondered how many old people are on UK roads? Wonder no more ─ the RAC foundation has given us the lowdown.
There are 4,018,900 motorists aged over 70 with full British driving licences, according to its figures, with the oldest licence holder accolade going to an unnamed 107-year-old woman. The data also revealed a further 190 drivers are at least a century old.
This marks the first time in the UK the number of motorists aged over 70 has exceeded four million.
Upon reaching the grand old age of 70, a driver must inform the DVLA whether they are fit to continue driving or not. At present, there’s no need for an elderly driver to pass a medical exam or a driving re-test, a simple yes or no is sufficient.
It’s not uncommon for elderly drivers to get a bit of
(walking) stick from young whipper-snapper motorists for their supposed lack of driving ability, even though statistics from the Department for Transport revealed drivers aged over 70 represented 9 per cent of all drivers in the UK, yet caused only six per cent of casualties. That’s a far cry from the 35 per cent of accidents caused by those aged under 30 over the same period.
Sadly, there are cases where elderly motorists – who perhaps fear for their lack of freedom – keep driving even though they are medically unsafe to do so. It helps little there have been a number of cases where a pensioner has accidentally run over a loved one [//recombu.com/cars/articles/news/pensioner-kills-wife-by-accidentally-reversing-over-her] in the media.
To ensure oldies can stay on the road and remain safe, the RAC Foundation and research charity Rica has put together a guide called “Driving Safely for Life” to help them understand the law, keep abreast of the modifications they can and can’t make to their car and provide useful driving tips.
“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,” RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister commented. “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,” he added.
The guide will reportedly be promoted by local authorities, community groups and the police.