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Should old people be made to re-take their driving test?

Grandparents are great for advice and providing a near-limitless supply of Werther’s Original sweets, but in the eyes of youngsters they’re a bit of a menace and should re-take their driving test at the age of 66.

73 per cent of 3,736 people surveyed by Auto Trader said they were worried about the driving habits of older motorists, with six out of ten going as far as saying they should undergo regular coordination and sight tests to ensure they are fit to drive. 25 per cent admitted to feeling unsafe when driven by someone above the age of 66. 

Elderly motorists get a bad rap, but statistics suggest they’re not as dangerous as people make out. Department for Transport numbers from 2011 reveal people over the age of 70 represent 9 per cent of all drivers in the UK, yet only cause six per cent of driver casualties. 

In fact, according to the same results, the ‘yout’ of today is far more accident prone. 20 per cent of the driving population are under the age of 30 yet account for 35 per cent of all driving-related casualties.
Age UK charity director Michelle Mitchell agreed that age is largely irrelevant and should not be used in a discriminatory fashion: “Older drivers are, on the whole, confident and responsible, comparing favourably with other drivers across the country.”

“For many older people driving is a way of maintaining independence, so it’s important that they should not be prevented from doing so on the arbitrary basis of birth-date alone, particularly when people’s fitness and health varies so dramatically,” Mitchell added.

Considering a quarter of the population will be over the age of 65 by 2023, it’s probably worth cutting old people some slack ─ unless you know your grandparents have the eyesight of a bat and the reactions of a flu-ridden sloth.

Should the elderly be made to take a re-test at a certain age? Let us know.

Image: Flickr 

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