Bath School of Motoring and Lanham's Driving School Ltd

Successfully teaching to drive in Bath & surrounding areas for over 45 years

DRIVING ABILITIES FOR MATURE MOTORISTS

Written by: Bath School of Motoring

22/02/2019

The debate about older people driving has been reignited following a traffic colision involving the Duke of Edinburgh.  The 97-year-old, who was RoSPA's president between 1965 and 1968, was driving a Land Rover Freelander when it was involved in a collision with a Kia near Sandringham estate in Norfolk.  The Kia was carrying a nine-month-old baby, its mother, 28, and another woman, 45, who suffered a broken arm and an injured knee.

Thank goodness no one was seriously hurt but in "the wake of this incident, we have inevitably heard calls for mandatory testing of people of a certain age.  This is a red herrin - age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone's ability to drive.  Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents that other age groups."

It has been said that if a decision to restrict drivers was based on any relationship between age and accident rates, a fresh look at inexperienced, younger drivers aged 17 to 24 would be needed.

"Although this younger age group accounts for just 7% of the driving population, they are involved in around 22% of fatal or serious road traffic accidents," It has also been said that " Experience developed over a lifetime of driving helps older drivers anticipate and cope with hazardous situations.  They often choose to use familiar routes and plan their journeys to make use of daylight and avoid congested rush hour traffic.  The ability to drive gives people freedom to travel when and where they like.  This is particularly valuable to people of all ages who live in rural areas where there is limited public transport.  "Driving enables visits to family and friends, inspirational tourist attractions and everyday shopping.  Taking away someone's ability to drive can have a major impact on their independence and should be very carefully considered because it could lead to an increase in the rising toll of loneliness and isolation that we are seeing amongst older people in our ageing society.  "However a balance needs to be struck between encouraging independence and protecting all road users.  RoSPA therefore encourages older drivers and their families to be aware of their driving ability and other health conditions that could have an imapct, and either speak to their doctor if they are worried, or take an assessment such as RoSPA's experienced driver assessment, which will provide advice as to how to improve driving. 

More information can be found at www.olderdrivers.org.uk