Call for elderly people to take driving tests
A MOTORING group is calling for voluntary assessment and better training of GPs and other health staff to prepare for the rapidly increasing number of drivers 90 or more years old.
The IAM says the number of drivers over 90 is set to increase by 18 per cent (12,400) over the next five years; currently there are 70,000 drivers aged more than 90 but by 2017 that will increase by around 12,500 to 82,400.
The number of 80-year-old drivers is currently 1,049,058 and this is set to rise by 22 per cent to around 1,283,000 in the next 10 years.
Drivers over the age of 65 now make up 25 per cent of licence holders – a figure that is set to rise as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age – and there are 154 drivers over 100 including one 106 year-old and two 105-year-olds.
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Drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are considerably safer than younger drivers, according to research by the IAM.
Eight per cent of drivers are over 70 yet account for four per cent of injury crashes.
Currently motorists are required to renew their licence at 70 and then every three years after that but the IAM wants the Government to start planning for the ageing motoring population.
IAM chief executive Simon Best said: "Today more than 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 Government needs a strategy now on how it is going to manage more elderly drivers and make them more aware of the risks they face. The top priority must be non-compulsory driving assessments nationwide to help them deal with modern high speed traffic and eliminate any bad habits."
"Better training for GPs and other medical staff is also needed."