Older Drivers – Should they Have to Resit their Test?
By 2030, it’s reckoned that over 90% of men older than 70 will still be driving. Currently, the test doesn’t have to be taken again, older motorists just fill in a form. Drivers over 70 simply reapply for their licence every three years.
Although there is no medical or test, older drivers must state that they are fit to drive, and the DVLA is entitled to make further investigations.
The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) insists that drivers of advanced years do not pose a particular threat to road safety and should not be made to take driving tests again. It says its research has found that drivers aged 70+ are no more likely to be the cause of an accident than any other age group, in fact, they’re actually less likely to do so compared to younger people behind the wheel.
It cites, for example, the fact that drivers over 70 make up 8% of the UK motoring population, but only account for 4% accidents resulting in injuries.
Instead, the IAM says the government should be concentrating on managing elderly drivers, and making them aware of the potential hazards they may face. There’s also the argument that older drivers have many years’ motoring experience under their belts.
One recent Whitehall advisory group report advocated voluntary refresher driving courses at 70. It stated that most older road users were more likely to be at risk themselves than pose a danger to others.
One survey last year found that most of us believe older drivers should be made to retake their test at 66. Those who think older people should have to resit their driving test say that older people fatigue more easily, are more likely to be hurt in an accident, and may have passed their original test decades ago when traffic conditions were very different.