The media often pick up this subject and we’re led to believe that older drivers are problematic and dangerous.
However, it seems that the reality is somewhat different in fact according to research done back in 2016 at the University of Swansea, the data on vehicle accidents showed that drivers aged 70 are involved in 3-4 times fewer accidents than 17-21 year old men.
Evidence suggests that whilst they are not the most dangerous group there are issues that should be addressed. The study showed that older drivers tended to make mistakes when they felt under pressure from other road users, the increase in accidents due to physical frailty and illness and also new car technology.
The issue needs to be addressed and looked at in its widest context. Driving for many older people is their lifeline to the outside world without which their quality of life would be severely restricted, many describe the thought akin to ‘losing a limb’. This loss of independence can have greater knock-on effects on the individual’s mental wellbeing.
Professor Musselwhite, associate professor of gerontology at Swansea University’s Centre for Innovative Ageing, insists that denying older people a licence should not be taken lightly and that even that re-testing older drivers may not be the solution. Retest programmes have been conducted in other countries like Australia and Denmark without improving results.
Whilst we are obliged to renew our driving licence at the age of 70 we are not obliged to retest. Surely as we are all living longer and driving further in much more powerful cars we should be required to retest for the safety of ourselves and others? Or is it simply more bureaucracy we simply don’t need in our society? (let us know your thoughts in the comments section below)
Whilst, many people self regulate and simply listen to advice from friends, family and their GP there is help at hand;
If you are in doubt always seek advice. The Older Drivers website is a great place to start not only will it give you all the info you need they will help you stay driving safely for longer. If you have been recently diagnosed with a condition but unsure as to whether or not you should inform the DVLA this website will help ‘Check if a health condition affects your driving’
Other helpful links;