Government considers raising licence renewal age to 80

12.00 | 3 March 2014 | | 6 comments

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.



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    Ridiculous to have licences expire and need renewing at 70 – people will not be retiring till 67 or 68 according to gov new guidelines so 2 years later they are too old to drive without constant appraisal? Gov cannot have its cake and eat it! 70 is not old enough to have to renew. Make it 80.

    JEH Medway
    Agree (0) | Disagree (0)

    Soon people will be retiring at 68 years old, which means two years into retirement and their licence expires. This should be set at 80 years old, then renewed every 5 years after that in the UK.

    David of Bristol
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    Peter of Liverpool:
    Am I missing something? My licence is a paper one and I do not intend to move so the address is the same. In fact has been for more than 25 years, so why have I got to renew it every 10 years?

    Peter chichester
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    It seems to me that not enough people actively plan for “later life”, and the result is crisis management in response to deterioration of faculties. This may sound unsympathetic but I sincerely believe preparing in advance to cope with the changes that come could significantly enhance older people’s lives. The problem I see with this idea is that it risks further deferring the time when people will consider modifying travel behaviour. Last time I looked at any data on the matter it seemed the big growth in casualties was in the band aged 75-85 so I personally would not support raising the licence renewal age to 80.

    Tim Philpot, Wolverhampton
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    We don’t have enough (any) information. How much will it cost the DVLA (us, it’s our money) to keep the age at 70? Add to this, how much does it cost us directly to renew or licences from 70 to 80? And what are the costs of side-effects, such as care for those who give up driving? And then we need to know what is the direct risk of raising the limit?

    Once we know the risk/cost we can then compare that to other ways of using those resources. It is possible that the money saved by raising to 80 could save perhaps 50 times more lives if diverted to hospitals. Without the cost/risk compared to the alternatives, how can anyone make an informed comment?

    Dave Finney, Slough
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    We all (of every age) have to renew our license every 10 years, so it makes no sense to skip this for those who are also around 70.

    This is very muddled thinking from DVLA in my view. I agree that in the vast majority of cases there is no actual value in asking people to self declare at 70 (as most 70 year olds are fit), but the whole point is to allow drivers to self-reflect and start to think about the risks, their health, travel behaviour. Its not just black and white about license or no license decisions, it’s about nudging i.e. the need to think, discuss etc. In some cases these nudges will be effective in reducing risk. There’s a hell of a gap between 70 and 80 in fitness terms. I would advocate the license renewal at 70 being retained, but improved to add value by asking a GP to countersign the application form.

    pete, liverpool
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