Despite a significant increase in the number of older drivers in the future, the IAM is against compulsory retesting for the elderly.
The IAM’s stance comes on the back of statistics it has released which show that the number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18% – from 70,000 to 82,400 – over the next five years. And with the number of 80 year old drivers also set to rise by 22% to around 1,283,000 in the next 10 years, drivers over the age of 65 – who already make up 25% of licence holders – will also increase.
The IAM also reveals that there are currently 154 drivers over the age of 100, including one 106 year old and two 105 year olds.
However, drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are considerably safer than younger drivers, according to research by the IAM. 8% of drivers are aged over 70 years, yet they only account for 4% of all injury crashes.
Despite the statistics, motorists are currently required to renew their licence at 70 and then every three years after that.
Simon Best, IAM chief executive, said: “Today, over 10 million people can expect to reach 100 so the chances are they’ll be driven around by their 70 year old children. While their frailty puts them at risk if they are in a crash, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a risk to other drivers.
“Despite the increase in numbers, we should resist calls for compulsory retests for elderly drivers. The government needs a strategy now on how it is going to manage more elderly drivers and make them more aware of the risks they face. The top priority must be non-compulsory driving assessments available nationwide to help them deal with modern high speed traffic and eliminate any bad habits.
“Better training for GPs and other medical staff is also needed to ensure information and options are clearly spelt out. Finally those nearing retirement need to start planning now for their future transport needs and the inevitable day when they may have to lay down their car keys forever.”
For more information contact the IAM on 020 8996 9777.