31st October 2014
One in five drivers over the age of 50 do not think they are fit to be on the road as they would not pass their driving test today.
A report by specialist insurance provider RIAS reveals 22% of drivers aged over 50 do not think they would pass their driving test if forced to re-sit it. The average older driver took their test 40 years ago and half of over-70s took their test more than half a century ago.
In its Drive Fit report, six in 10 older drivers said their driving has changed over the years and nearly 30% said they drive more slowly than they use to.
Nine in 10 drivers aged 60 to 69 and the same amount aged over 70 do not worry that physical impairments may affect their current driving, despite the fact eyesight starts to deteriorate between the ages of 41 and 60 and accidents caused by poor vision cause 2,900 casualties and cost £33 million a year.
Industry data shows drivers aged 70+ have the highest proportion of third party personal injury cost and although the number of accidents in this age group is lower than any other, the injury costs of an accident are far higher.
Although those aged 70+ have to renew their driving licence every year they only have to declare they are fit and healthy enough to drive, not prove this by law.
Peter Corfield, managing director of RIAS, said: ‘Our aim is to support safe driving as we get older. It’s not just our driving that alters over time, today, cars are faster, there are more of them on the roads and generally the entire driving landscape has changed.
‘If you took your test over 40 years ago, it would be reasonable to assume that quite a lot has changed. The current law allows drivers to declare that they are fit and healthy to drive. Drivers over 70 don’t have to provide evidence of this and we’d like to ask the public whether more robust measures should be considered to ensure safe and fit drivers stay on the road no matter what their age.’
A third of 60 to 69 year olds believe drivers should re-take their test at the age of 70 but a third of those over 70 say they should never have to re-take it.
While the majority of 60 to 69 years olds believe people should be forced to stop driving at age 80, 14% of over-70s said they should be forced to stop until they reach their 90s and 66% of over-70s said people should never be forced to stop.