Changes will crack down on unfit, unsafe drivers, especially those with poor eyesight.

A big crackdown on health and driving is planned for the New Year.

At present, drivers do not need to confirm that they are fit to drive until they reach 70 years old. But, as the number of older driver increases dramatically, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency now plans to introduce a full list of mental and physical requirements for drivers, with tests every 10 years.

The tests, which could cost drivers up to £80, will check eyesight, reaction times and general health.

At present, it seems that drivers will be left to choose whether they take such a test. But anyone who doesn’t will have to declare themselves fit – and they will then be committing a criminal offence if they are found to be below standard.

The move, reported by the Daily Telegraph, is designed to weed out tens of thousands of motorists who use their cars when poor vision or other disability means they are a danger to themselves and others.

It will be the first major change in health requirements for drivers since the 1970s.

At present, drivers with older-style paper licences are not obliged to confirm the state of their health until they reach 70. However, motorists are obliged to contact the DVLA if they believe they have a condition or illness which will affect their driving.

In response, the DVLA sends them a questionnaire they must complete. When returned the DVLA can order the driver to re-take a driving test or undergo assessment by a doctor. In 2006, the DVLA dealt with 600,000 drivers who ability to drive needed re-assessment – a 20% increase over the previous year.

Stephen Jury


December 30, 2008

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