Have Your Say – Should Driving Re-Tests Be Made Obligatory at 70?

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;

How To Help Your Older Driver 

Renew Your Driving Licence If You’re Over 70

Refresher Driving Courses 

 

 

 

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15 Comments

  • i dont think they should have to sit a re-test but they should have to do a awareness test , i live in Clacton-on-sea and there is a heck of alot of older drivers ,who drive with NO awareness of whats going on around them…

  • I think drivers over 70 are more careful , and don’t use there phones and eat and drink while they are driving like a lot of people do , I am 67 and I am a patient and cautious driver , we aren’t slow drivers but we try and stick to the rules .

  • I’m 67, I was Sales Rep for over 33 years, covering 50,000 miles per year. I still think I’m an experienced driver. I’ve noticed over the last two years since retiring that younger drivers seem not to use indicators to much. This leaves to confusing drivers around them of what they intend to do. Also I’ve noticed a trend of drivers not knowing the rules of the use of roundabouts by giving way to the right. Parking is another problem, I live in a cul-de-sac with narrow roads but people still seem to park willy-billy, not realising the problems the cause by blocking access. Heaven forbid if emergency vehicles try to get down the road. All that’s needed is a little thought on drivers part, I know is hard in this fast-paced world we live in, but I think the older driver is more aware.

  • Retest by age no, maybe retest according to the length of time since your previous test. Say twenty years then every ten years. Some 90 or even 97 year olds should not be driving but the same could be said of some 20 or 30 year olds . Its not age thats the problem but attitude!!

  • An old man as a driving accident, presumably his fault and everyone starts calling for oldies to re-sit their driving test. Our cities are full of boy racers who for some unknown reason think they are Lewis Hamilton. The accident ratio young versus old is a no brainer.

  • Absolute nonsense. I’m 69 and ridden motorbikes driven cars lorries and buses and find my ability to drive today is not impaired at all. I would go as far as to say that with modern cars life behind the wheel is far easier and less stressful than ever before.
    I find the most annoying and dangerous people on the road are the ones that stay in the middle lane on a motorway at 50mph or less, not only do they cause annoyance and danger to other drivers, it is also illegal. Also the amount of people still using their mobile whilst driving is appalling.

  • Hi
    I don t drive but my husband does, he believes that older drivers are NOT dangerous drivers, but the young drivers aged 17 -21 are, and the other drivers as well, and he believes that when the younger generation is influenced by drugs and booze and sleep deprived drivers are the MOST dangerous people on the roads today,
    he has been driving since 1983 , he has seen lots of people who don t deserve to be driving, I feel extremely safe when I am riding with him, opposed to other drivers,

  • i think that after 70 people should have to take a driving test not just a written test. their reflexes are slower , eyesight not as good. hearing not as good. concentration not the same as when they were younger.. they really need more than just a written test… I think this should be a requirement;

  • Unless a person has a physical or mental condition that could affect their ability behind the wheel, I don’t see any need to retest. As others have mentioned, older drivers are less likely to eat, smoke and use mobile phones whilst driving. Also, as stated in the article, the loss of independence might have a detrimental effect on some people’s mental health.

  • Eye tests should be compulsory for everyone who drives no matter what their age might be.
    Being over 70 does not make you a bad driver,does not mean you are no longer compos mentis.
    Being over 70 does not make you more liable to have accidents but if that does happen it is more likely to be at a lower speed than the boy racers or van drivers.
    I see many younger people using their mobiles whilst driving even ,mothers with children in the car.

  • The over 70 drivers I know are very careful considerate drivers. Maybe it should be compulsory to have a signed opticians certificate of eyesight rather than leaving it to people to tick the box themselves.

  • Age is not the important question here. Many older drivers are experienced in respect of driving and are more than capable at doing so. If someone lies about their health when renewing the licence at 70 they are breaking the law. They can be medically tested in the event of an accident caused by them. I don’t know of many older drivers causing accidents through drink or drugs which means for no reason should the older driver take a retest based purely on age.

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