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IAM: more old drivers than ever not bad news
The number of drivers over the age of 90 is set to increase by 18% over the next five years, according to research from The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM).
The road safety charity estimates that by 2017, there will be 82,400 ninety-year olds driving, compared to around 70,000 on the roads now. The figures are based on a freedom of information request to the DVLA in August 2012.
The IAM also says that over-65s now make up more than 25% of licence holders – with that number set to rise thanks to Britain’s aging baby-boomer population.
But despite the growing number of ‘silver drivers’ the IAM reckons drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other group of drivers and are statistically safer than that much-maligned group of road-users – young drivers.
At present, the law requires drivers over 70 to renew their licence at 70 and every three years thereafter.
Rather than calling for compulsory re-testing, the IAM wants a softer approach to managing the population of elderly drivers – and reckons non-compulsory driving assessments are the way forward. It’s also calling on the government to formulate a strategy to deal with making older drivers as safe as possible on the roads.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive:
“Today, over 10 million people can expect to reach 100 so the chances are they’ll be driven around by their 70 year-old children. While their frailty puts them at risk if they are in a crash, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a risk to other drivers.”
“Despite the increase in numbers, we should resist calls for compulsory retests for elderly drivers. The top priority must be non-compulsory driving assessments available nationwide to help them deal with modern high speed traffic and eliminate any bad habits.”
Best also added that the medical profession need to play their part when it comes to assessing older drivers’ capability to get behind the wheel:
“Better training for GPs and other medical staff is also needed to ensure information and options are clearly spelt out”
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