New report reveals risks to older drivers

A new report has found older drivers are particularly vulnerable on UK roads, with those over 80 as likely to be killed or seriously injured while driving as those aged 21-29.

With the 70-70 age group likely to increase by 40% over the next 20 years, the report has highlighted a number of measures it believes could make roads safer for older drivers.

Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age, a summary report issued by a team of experts funded by the Department of Transport, suggesting introducing mandatory eyesight testing at licence renewal at the age of 70, as well as the introduction of a programme to make T junctions safer.

It also calls for immediate research into the impact of physical and cognitive medical conditions, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy, that may contribute to pedal confusion and a national roll-out of an alternative to prosecution for careless driving for older motorists.

The Older Drivers Task Force was originally commissioned in 2016 to support older drivers to continue to drive while they are still safe to do so.

Executive director Dr Suzy Charman said: “There have been some developments since the previous review, but we want to increase the pace of progress to ensure that we do not see the expected rise in the number of older drivers killed or seriously injured in road crashes. Key recommendations such as introducing mandatory eye tests at licence renewal at aged 70 are considered essential and lifesaving.

“We hope the Department for Transport welcomes the report and can provide the leadership necessary to ensure these recommendations are taken forward. Not only will this make driving safer for older drivers, but it will also provide a legacy of safer roads for generations to come.”