According to Department for Transport (DFT) statistics, there was an 8% rise in road deaths involving over 60’s in 2019. The number of over 60’s who died while behind the wheel also rose by 15%.
Most worryingly, those over 70 are more likely to be involved in collisions where the cause is listed as:
Driver failed to look properly
Driver failed to judge other person’s path or speed
Poor turn or manoeuvre
Driver illness or disability, mental or physical
Over 70’s have to reapply for their licence every three years to continue driving. They must also report any medical conditions which can affect their ability to drive. The DVLA rejects these applications more often than not. As a result, 30% of over 70’s don’t report their medical conditions!
If they did, they would likely lose their freedom and independence. This is a scary thought for many people. So, what can be done?
Telematics Policies for Over 70’s
There may be a solution. The DVLA and Driving Mobility, a leading charity, recently discussed the idea of telematics policies for older drivers. This would be like black box insurance for younger drivers.
Instead of completely losing their licence, drivers with conditions such as dementia, epilepsy, Parkinson’s and insulin treated diabetes would have certain restrictions imposed on their driving. Under the new ‘graduated licence’, drivers would only be able to:
Drive during daylight hours
Travel within 20 or 30 miles of their home.
They would also have their braking, acceleration and cornering forces measured. The black box would alert authorities if it notices worrying behaviour.
Edward Trewhella, chief executive of Driving Mobility, reportedly said about the idea: “A lot of older drivers stick within their own locality – they go to the shop, the doctors surgery, probably on minor roads with which they are familiar.” These regulations would “regularise that and make it legal for them to do so. That would mean they were driving safely within their familiar environment.”
Restrictions are better than loss of mobility
The DFT has dismissed introducing this policy, saying that “drivers must tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency about any medical conditions which might affect their driving”. However, we at BookMyGarage support the idea. Black-box policies have reduced fatalities within 17-24 year olds, so there’s no reason why it wouldn’t help over 70’s as well.
Loneliness is a serious problem among the elderly. It can damage your health as much as smoking! Revoking licences can isolate a lot of elderly people. These policies reduce their risk of a crash, allowing them to continue their normal lives and making the roads a little safer for other drivers.
What do you think about this policy? Would you support a ‘graduated licence’ and greater restrictions for elderly drivers with serious medical conditions? Let us know in the comments!
Drew works for BookMyGarage writing blogs, website content and almost everything else in between. He works closely with ex-mechanics and subject matter experts. When he’s not helping you save money on running your car or making your driving life easier, he can be found either with his head in a book or with a golf club in his hands (usually looking for his ball in the woods)