The Government is considering raising the age at which older drivers have to renew their licence to 80, according to the Mail Online.
Currently drivers have to renew their licence when they reach the age of 70 years, and every three years thereafter, and declare if they have any medical conditions which could affect their driving.
The recommendation to increase the age to 80 years was included in a review of the Drivers and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) which was published last week.
Under the heading ‘drivers medical review’ on page 25 of the report, it says: “The work of drivers medical assessment is growing significantly year on year. The process is reliant on external medical assessments which add complexity and time to the process. It is the source of the majority of complaints to DVLA.
“Demand for the service is expected to increase due in part to an ageing but active population and a greater incidence in later life of conditions such as diabetes.
“A clearer strategic approach to deliver a high quality, fast, low cost drivers medical service, is needed.
“Some of these changes may require legislative and policy changes but the department (DfT) should also consider whether the existing requirement to renew a driving licence at age 70 is still appropriate.
“A number of European countries renew driving licences at age 80 or have no limit at all. Early analysis of information held by DVLA suggests this could be introduced with little or no impact on road safety.”
However, the Mail Online article says “safety campaigners warn the move could cost lives and insisted regulations for older drivers should be strengthened, not relaxed”.
Talking to the Mail Online, Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “Changing the renewal age from 70 to 80 should only be done on the basis of evidence that this would not increase risk.”
A spokesman for Brake added: “It is concerning the DfT is considering raising the age for licence renewal. The regulation that’s in place is there for a reason.
“At this age, conditions that can significantly impair your ability to drive safely become much more common, so it’s essential we have robust procedures to ensure older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others in grave danger.”
A DfT spokesman said: “The review of the DVLA has made several recommendations to improve the efficiency of the service. Any change to the current driving licence renewal age would require extensive consultation and no decisions have been made.”
Click here to read the full Mail Online article.