Should There Be An Upper Age Limit For Drivers?

Number Plates from Speedyreg

Many motorists get wary when they notice they are driving alongside older drivers, even if these senior drivers are driving safely. There have been proposals to ban older drivers from the roads because of safety concerns.

Decreased driving ability

As people get older, general health and fitness begin to deteriorate. In some older drivers, the senses of sight and hearing—the two most crucial to driving safely—have become impaired and decrease to the point that the ability to drive safely is compromised. Some medications taken by older drivers may also impede on focus.

Due to their physical frailty, older drivers are more at risk of being involved in an accident and get injured from it. A severe injury could lead to death. In 2010, over 150 motorists over the age of 60 lost their lives in road accidents, and more than a thousand were seriously injured. Statistics also show that the risk of being involved in a vehicular accident increases after a driver turns 70 years.

Additionally, an older driver is more likely to be at fault in an accident. The most common violations that older drivers do are failure to yield the right of way, making unsafe turns and passing, and failure to obey traffic signals. In summary, there are several physical and cognitive conditions that affect an older driver’s ability to drive safely.

Is setting an age limit the solution?

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents believe that setting an upper age limit for drivers is not the solution to keeping everyone involved safe. According to them, the policies that prematurely remove an older motorist’s ability to drive can have negative consequences for their quality of life. What they propose is a set of policies that would make the roads safer for older road users, including engineered roads, adapting a vehicle’s design to suit the needs of older drivers, and having an information campaign to raise awareness of the effects of ageing on driving ability.

Stopping older drivers from driving is, however, recommended if the safety of the driver or other motorists cannot be secured through any other means. Driving cessation can be emotional, especially if driving is an important aspect of an older person’ life. Talking about this among family members can help the family decide what to do. Suggestions include getting a younger driver to assist the older citizen in getting around, or moving homes to give seniors easier access to where they need to go.

No upper age limit

While there is currently no upper age limit for drivers, the government mandates that drivers over 70 years of age must renew their driving licence. Licence renewal can be done online with DVLA and is free of charge for senior drivers. Drivers 70 years old or older should meet the minimum eyesight requirement and should not have been prevented from driving for any reason.

Licences for drivers 70 years and over must be renewed every three years. There is no need to retake the driver theory test, but then again it’s always a good idea to review the rules and regulations stated in the Highway Code for anyone getting behind the wheel.

This post has been viewed: 2779 times