OLDER DRIVERS: A MENACE ON UK ROADS?

June 3rd, 2013 in In The News


·         3 in 5 Brits believe older motorists should be forced to retake their driving test at the age of 66

·         One in five urge the Government to put stricter regulations in place for older drivers

·         73% feel concerned on the road behind an older driver

UK, WEDNESDAY 15 MAY 2013: Older drivers should be subject to compulsory retesting aged 66, according to motorists questioned for Auto Trader’s Q1 2013 Owners’ Guide.

Auto Trader, the number one digital marketplace for buying and selling new and used cars, surveyed 3,763 motorists for the Owners’ Guide which reveals that 60% of consumers think the Government should impose compulsory retesting once motorists reach a certain age. What’s more, 17-24 year-olds believe motorists should be forced to retake their driving test as young as 63.

With Britain’s population ageing rapidly - the number of licence holders over the age of 70 has rocketed 72% in the past twenty years - Brits fear the Government is failing to prepare for the anticipated demographic time bomb and influx of older drivers on our roads.

More than one in five (21%) of motorists expressed concerns regarding the lack of restrictions in place for older drivers, who currently self-certify their fitness and capability to drive with little official regulation. 65% of Brits believe older drivers should be subject to medical checks, such as regular sight and coordination tests, while 30% think Government should reduce the number of points older drivers are allowed before their licence is revoked.

Over a quarter (26%) of Brits surveyed admit to feeling unsafe when getting in the car with a driver over the age of 65 and the overwhelming majority of these identify a lower level of awareness and slow reaction speed as the key inhibiting factors. An alarming 73% of people questioned for the Owners’ Guide admitted to having felt concerned when driving behind an older motorist.

Nathan Coe, Group Director at Auto Trader, commented: “Any correlation between growing old and driving safely is not straightforward, making it difficult for Government to enforce a one rule fits all policy. Driving is a combination of experience, attitude, physical health and brain function. We of course want to help people to stay on the roads for as long as they are safe to do so and to help them find the car that may be best suited to their needs.”

Many older drivers feel tarnished by a series of high-profile cases, affecting consumer perceptions regarding the risks they pose on UK roads. The reality however is very different and official statistics show people over 70 made up nine percent of drivers but only six percent of driver casualties, while drivers under 30 made up 20% of drivers but 35% of casualties.*

Peter Rodger, Chief Examiner at the Institute of Advanced Motorists, added: “It is important to recognise that older drivers are under-represented in statistics, meaning they are involved in fewer crashes that result in injury than the average.* There are plenty of options for older drivers who may be worried about whether they are safe on the road including an objective assessment of their driving skills and driving refresher courses.”