Elderly drivers warned to ‘reflect & accept’ own driving amid mandatory tests for over 70s

Elderly drivers: Confused.com put OAPs to the test

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Recent figures suggested that car driver deaths in the 70 to 79 age group are expected to rise by 40 percent over the next 20 years. The Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age report also found that for drivers over 80, the rate of being killed or seriously injured, per licence held, is as high as for those aged between 21 and 29.

The study, which was funded by the Department for Transport, recommended introducing mandatory eyesight testing with an optometrist or medical practitioner.

This would take the form of an “eyesight MOT” that drivers would need to complete at every driving licence renewal after the age of 70.

Another proposal included a national roll-out of an alternative to prosecution for careless driving for older motorists.

As a result, road safety and breakdown organisation GEM Motoring Assist said more needs to be done to protect older drivers.

A GEM spokesperson commented on the findings in the report and what needs to be done to make elderly drivers safer.

They said: “We know a lot about the safety challenges faced by older drivers.

“These may come from the road layout, the declining flexibility of the driver, changes in the quality of their vision or from taking longer to react to an emerging hazard.

“For example, junctions with sharp angles can prove difficult for drivers with restricted neck movement, so investment is needed to make these junctions safer and easier to negotiate.

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“At the same time, self-reflection needs to start with an acceptance that we’re all more vulnerable on the road than we think we are.

“It includes a willingness to recognise the situations that may lead to increased risk, and to ask where, when and why they occur.

“Learning from those situations, perhaps with some expert help, is a good way for a senior driver to stay as safe as possible for as long as possible.”

They also said they were keen to remind older motorists of the need to reflect on their own driving.

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