The most common reason why respondents thought senior drivers aged 60 or over should be banned or re-take their test was because ‘older drivers don’t have fast enough reaction times’.
The majority of people thought the compulsory test retakes should occur between the ages of 71 and 75 (20%). Those in favour of the more drastic upper age limit measure and complete ban chose a much older age for this – 86-90 (10%) and older than 90 (14%).
Younger adults between the ages of 18-24 thought the compulsory re-test should come at a younger age. More than 1 in 3 (37%) thought it should occur between 60 and 70, compared to just 13% of those aged 55+ who said the same.
Despite many research studies not supporting this view, it’s clearly a strong public perception that we don’t trust older drivers on the roads.
A spokesperson from Brake said:
“These are certainly some interesting findings that add to the debate about the most effective ways of ensuring the safety of our younger and older drivers who are amongst the most at risk on our roads. It is essential to have robust procedures in place that ensure younger and older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others at risk.
“A dangerous combination of inexperience and over-confidence makes younger drivers a high road safety risk, which is why we are calling for the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system in the UK. A GDL system would incorporate a mandatory learning period and post-test training, ensuring that all new drivers had the necessary tools and knowledge to drive safely on our roads.”
“For older drivers, licence renewal at 70 prompts them to check and self-certify they are fit to drive but this process can be improved. The government needs to look at how fitness to drive regulation can be more rigorously enforced, such as compulsory eyesight testing throughout a driver’s career, rather than simply expecting drivers to self-certify that they are fit to drive.”
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart Director of Policy and Research, said:
“Not surprisingly, the survey shows that many people blame the old and the young for crashes when this is not always the case. In reality, new drivers are the most at risk group and older drivers are among the safest. Statistics do however show that drivers over 85 do start to have more crashes as their faculties fade and their experience is no longer enough to compensate.
“The clear message from the survey is that there is strong support for change and that must be harnessed to inform a new national debate about the best way to keep older drivers safer for longer and to give new drivers the experience they need for a lifetime of safe driving on the road. This debate cannot be delayed much longer as the demographic time bomb of an ageing population is ticking right now.
“Older drivers really value their independence and it may be that a tougher testing regime is an acceptable trade-off to allow them to keep driving. At IAM RoadSmart, we think that raising the age of licence renewal to 75 and insisting on evidence of an eye test is a simple and effective first step that could be introduced very quickly. If doctors could also prescribe a mature driver assessment then friends and families of an ageing relative could have much more confidence in their ability and safety. Simply asking for a rerun of the existing test designed for learners would stop many older people driving far too early and generate a downward spiral of state dependence, illness and depression for thousands stuck at home.”
“For younger drivers graduated driver licensing (GDL) is widely accepted as the best way forward. What we need now is for the respondents to this survey to tell their MPs to get on with adopting it!”
Do we unfairly stigmatise older drivers and why?
It’s likely that reports of high profile crashes such as Prince Phillip’s collision back in January, significantly impact our view on the safety of older drivers. But with the majority of research showing that older drivers are much safer than younger drivers, are we being influenced by these individuals, highly publicised cases?
57% of people think we should raise the driving test age above 17 years old. In fact, more people think the legal age for learning to drive should be 18 (37%) than those who think it should stay at the current legal age of 17 (33%).
The top reasons why respondents think the driving age should be 18 or above is because:
○ They think younger drivers take more risks when driving (66%)
○ They think younger drivers are not mature enough to drive on the roads (56%)
○ They think younger drivers cause more crashes (40%).
The over 55s are nearly twice as likely to think we should increase the driving age limit above 17. With 64% of over 55s believing this should be 18 or above, versus just 36% of 18-24-year-olds.
Editor's Recommended Articles
Must Read >> The importance of sleep for commercial drivers