The Driver In Front Is A Pensioner.

By Kevin | 25th March 2012 | Category: Road Safety | Leave a comment

A recent report from the Parliamentary Advisory Council for Transport Safety (Pacts) said that the number of older motorists holding driving licences has risen considerably in recent years, leading to the number of drivers aged over 80 now being greater than 1,000,000.

Incredible figures when you consider that back in 1975 only 15% of over-70s held a driving licence – in 2010 that figure was 60%. And those aged 60-69 will continue to drive for another 20 years, and 80% of those hold licences.

It doesn’t bode well for the future of the roads.

InstituteofAdvanced Motoristschief executive Simon Best said: “With the number of drivers over the age of 80 now over one million, a strategy for this area is essential.

"Older people need their cars which give them better mobility and access to more activities and services. Those who wish to continue driving beyond the age of 70 should only be prevented from doing so if there are compelling reasons. Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we should make them more aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them eliminate bad habits. Driving helps older people play a full and active part in society.”

But, for those that think the older you get the worse you drive, this news won’t back your argument: The number of people killed or seriously injured on the roads have fallen far more slowly among older drivers.

The survey concludes: "Older road users are here to stay and that a national strategy for an ageing population is vital."

And Pacts executive director Robert Gifford said: "Over the next decade the balance of the population in this country will change. Older people need to be kept mobile and safe. I hope that this report will generate a national discussion about the state of our pavements and the relevance of self-regulation when it comes to giving up your driving licence. We need to move beyond seeing older people as a problem to viewing them as contributing to a mixed society."

So, what it is actually saying is that we should realise that older drivers are more of a risk to themselves, rather than to others. But more importantly, they need to realise it. So education is required, and the report suggested that the medical profession was more effective in giving advice on both physical and mental fitness to drive.

SAGA agrees:

Paul Green, head of communications said: “The report does have some very helpful suggestions that support making the decision about whether somebody is fit to drive more about their ability than their age, by harnessing the expertise of the medical profession in making these decisions

The ability to drive appropriately is a matter of attitude and ability, so perhaps drivers ought to be tested periodically through out ones driving life.”

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