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Should ‘dangerous’ older drivers be forced to retake their driving test?

Half of British motorists think the over-70s should be made to retake their driving tests. But are older drivers really a greater danger on our roads?

As drivers get older there may come a point when they’re no longer as safe as they once were.

In fact, nearly 17,000 motorists aged 70 and over have had their driving licences revoked or refused due to a medical condition.

That’s according to new data obtained by Confused.com from the DVLA via a Freedom of Information request.

108-year-old motorist

At present, there are more than 4.5 million drivers aged 70 and over who hold a full driving licence in the UK, according to the DVLA.

This includes 239 motorists aged 100 or over, with one male driver holding a full driving licence at the grand age of 108.

Under UK law, drivers are required to renew their licence every three years when they reach 70, with older drivers legally required to declare whether they are fit to drive.

However, many Brits disagree with how the law currently stands and are calling for it to be changed.

Tests for elderly drivers

Nearly half of 2,000 UK motorists that we surveyed believe drivers aged 70 and over should, in addition to renewing their licence every three years, be made to retake their driving test too.

Despite many older drivers having years of experience on the roads, nearly one in six Brits – or 16% – say they’re troubled at the behaviour of some older drivers behind the wheel.

In fact, nearly two fifths of people admit to having an elderly relative or friend whose driving is giving them cause for concern.

And more than two-thirds of them worry that this person may cause a car accident.


Too old to drive?

Currently, there is no legal age at which someone must stop driving.

Instead, the onus is on the driver to decide when they no longer have the ability to drive safely.

However, more than a quarter of Brits believe there should be a legal age limit when we are no longer allowed to drive.

Just over one in seven – or 15% – thinks this should be between 71 and 75 years old.

An unfair reputation

As aging affects us all differently, many older drivers feel they’ve been unfairly tarnished with a negative perception of their driving abilities.

In fact, more than a third of elderly drivers believe they’re a better driver today than they were when they were younger.

And to prove how good a driver they actually are, two fifths of these older drivers would be happy to take their driving test again.

But it’s not just older drivers that Brits feel should be re-taking their driving test.

Individual ability counts

More than a fifth of Brits also think all motorists should have to do so every 10 years.

And, according to some older drivers, it’s their junior counterparts that are more of a danger on the road: more than half of drivers aged 70 and over believe that younger drivers are more reckless when driving.

Matt Lloyd, motoring expert at Confused.com, says: “For years, people have argued over whether younger or older motorists are the worst drivers.

“While this is still up for debate, we need to understand that we should be more concerned about the individual’s driving abilities.

“Drivers, regardless of age, should be mindful of their own ability and make sure responsible driving is their number one priority.”

Older versus younger drivers

To put the age-old argument to the test and understand who has the better driving skills, older or younger drivers, Confused.com conducted an experiment with the Transport Research Laboratory.


confused.com, 2016