Experts suggest elderly drivers shouldn't be penalised for driving offences
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  • Experts suggest elderly drivers shouldn't be penalised for driving offences
  • 09 December 2021
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    Experts suggest elderly drivers shouldn't be penalised for driving offences

    Running red lights, driving too slowly and going in the wrong lane on the motorway are all offences that The Older Drivers Take Force suggest over-70's should be forgiven for.
The government funded road safety report suggested that drivers who are 70 and over should not have to face legal penalties for these kinds of driving offences, but should instead have to take on driving assessments. Department of Transport figures show that currently there are 5.7 million over-70's who hold a full driving license, with 489 being atleast 100.

At the moment there are only a few police forces around the country who have 'Fitness to Drive' evaluations, where a drivers skills are assessed by driving instructors and occupational therapists.

If a driver is assessed as 'unfit' to drive, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is notified, and they have to consider if their license is removed or not based on the assessment results. In certain cases, it may be reccomended that the driver has to take on more driving lessons and will be re-assessed in 3 months time. A 'Fitness to Drive' assessment is much more attractive to some offenders as it means that they could possibly avoid a £100 fine and points on their license.

The Older Drivers Task Force report suggests that 'Fitness to Drive' evaluations should be a practice that is carried out nationally, as they believe it would reduce the number of deaths and serious injuries involving elderly drivers. They also suggest this could halve car crash deaths in over-70's by 2030.

The Road Safety Foundation, who led the Task Force, published the report. Their executive director said: “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 age 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.”

A Department for Transport spokesperson said: “Safety remains our top priority and we will continue to ensure we strike the right balance between keeping the roads safe and maintaining people’s personal mobility into old age.

“We keep all measures under review and will consider the wider outcomes of this report.”

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