Road Safety News
 

RAC report says drivers still safe at 70

Tuesday 18th May 2010

According to a report published by the RAC Foundation, the 3.7m drivers born before the Second World War are among the safest people on our roads - and forcing them to take compulsory retests will limit their mobility, be hard to police and do little to reduce accidents (PACTS newsletter, May 2010).

The report, ‘Maintaining Safe Mobility for the Ageing Population’, suggests that public debate needs to focus on older drivers' opportunities to self-regulate rather than on stressful retesting or licensing restrictions.

Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: "We are unlikely to see retesting at 70 because, despite the myths, older drivers are no less safe than other age groups. Retesting in this way could also contravene recently passed equality legislation.

"Older drivers should be encouraged to do refresher training where the evidence shows it has benefits, but they should see this as an offer of help, not a compulsory measure which will leave them fearful of losing their licence and becoming increasingly house-bound.

"Licence renewal at 70 provides a useful prompt for drivers to consider their health and abilities in relation to driving and this should be extended to the rest of the population through the 10-yearly renewal of the driving licence photo-card which we all have to do.

"It is in everybody's interest to keep older people mobile for as long as they are safe to do so.”

Click here to read the full RAC Foundation news release.

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In reply to Neville from Burton-on-Trent, the short answer is no, it isn't hard to police. Unless the law has changed in the last 15 years, a police officer in uniform can stop any vehicle for a considerable range of reasons, for example, under the Road Traffic Act 1988, Section 164, he can stop a vehicle to request the production of a driving licence. He does not need to suspect the driver has not got one. From personal experience; a motorist was stopped because a brake light was not working. A dialogue ensued resulting in the car being searched. A sawn-off shotgun was found under the driver's seat that had been used in a wages-snatch three weeks earlier. Another driver was driving perfectly round Hyde Park Corner. His driving was so careful it aroused suspicion. He was stopped and questioned. He was ultra-polite and co-operative. He called me 'sir' The car he was driving was stolen from Crowborough in Sussex. The licence he produced from the glove compartment was the owner's, not his. He was arrested and taken to West End Central Police Station where he confessed to other crimes. This is roads policing and is best carried out, as in the past, by a corps of dedicated, highly trained police officers from Traffic Division who are totally focussed on their mission and it is this for which I am campaigning. Your suggestion about the DVLA and 10 year assessments is naive, bureaucratic and, ultimately, ineffectual. It would be costly to the tax-payer and totally abused by villains. Being stopped by two hard-faced, cold-blooded police motorcyclists who have heard it all before - ah,now that is a different ball game altogether. I am sorry Neville, please don't be offended by my criticisms but I am passionate about this issue.
Roy Buchanan, Borough Road Safety Officer, London Borough of Sutton

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I agree with Roy but then isn't that hard to police? I'm sure they need just cause to pull over the said people and check cars, a bit like they would have to do with the aged driver...... but if we made licences expire after 10 years and DVLA send out reminders for them to book an assessment test in the next 3 months then hey ho maybe our roads wouldn't have this element of yobs and older drivers bickering about each other's driving - just a thought.
Neville ward Burton on Trent

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I am so pleased that so many august bodies are sticking up for us mature citizens. Perhaps the safety anoraks will now stop looking for work where there isn't any to be done. If they want an OBE, campaign for roads policing that will catch the yobs, the hooligans, the drunk drivers, the disqualified, the uninsured, the dodgy vehicles and the criminals with naughty things in their boots that they have stolen from decent citizens.
Roy Buchanan Sutton

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