Motorists have little confidence in older drivers, says new survey

June 20, 2017 | By | In News
Senior woman driving car with hands on steering wheel.

A poll of British motorists has found that public opinion supports re-testing drivers when they reach a certain age.

Currently, OAPs are required to fill in a self-assessment form every three years to renew their licences.

But a survey of 2,000 UK drivers commissioned by National.co.uk revealed that nine in ten motorists believe that the over-70s aren’t as safe on the roads as other drivers and that a driving test should be re-taken once drivers reach 72 and every 5 years after that.

The survey also suggested that 83 is the average age at which respondents felt like drivers should be asked to surrender their licenses, yet over half of respondents (55%) say they have no plans to stop at any age. On average, the other 45% said they would give up their car at the age of 77.

According to the DVLA, there are currently 4.5 million motorists over the age of 70 on Britain’s roads and 17,000 over-70s gave up their licences in 2015 due to a medical condition.

However, despite motorists’ beliefs that older drivers are less safe on the roads, stats released by The Older Driver’s Task Force in 2016 revealed that the risk of a driver over the age of 70 killing a pedestrian is half that of a driver under the age of 25.

The report also showed that when an older driver is involved in a crash, the likelihood of them dying or being seriously injured is up to four times higher due to their frailty, particularly in women over 70.

When asked why they consider older drivers a risk, 72% of respondents cited slower reaction times as the reason, with 69% blaming poor eyesight. Four in ten of those quizzed say conditions like arthritis or glaucoma disease hinder driving ability significantly.

Earlier this year, the Government said it would consider whether the DVLA should demand evidence of an eyesight test when drivers reach age 75 and encourage vision checks every two years.

Almost a sixth of Brits (16%) say they have had to have a conversation with an older relative about packing in driving for good due to their old age and concerns for road safety.

58% of older drivers were happy to do so when asked by a male, as opposed to only 48% who agreed following a similar request from a female.

It seems that the sexes are divided when it comes to the risk posed by older drivers, with a quarter of males polled stating that they don’t think there is any need for older motorists to retake their test, compared to just 18% of women.

In fact, 17% of men said that they believe older drivers are BETTER on the roads than other age groups and 41% say there is no such thing as “too old to drive”.

Michael Bourne at National.co.uk, stated: “While it may seem obvious to some that driving ability is adversely affected by age, it’s important to remember that road collisions can happen to anyone at any time regardless of how old they are.

“Most driving schools offer refresher courses for those who have passed their test, and advanced driving courses are available to anyone who cares to further develop their skills, showing that no matter your age you can always improve!”

James Ash

By

Content Marketing Executive at Motors.co.uk

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