Mandatory sight testing among proposals to improve older drivers’ safety

15.58 | 24 November 2021 | | | 4 comments

Setting targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries for drivers aged over 70 years by 50% by 2030 – and a longer-term aspiration for zero deaths among this age group by 2050 – is a key recommendation in a new report authored by a team of older driver experts.

The report, Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age, has been published by the Road Safety Foundation on behalf of the Older Drivers Task Force, which the Foundation heads up.

The Older Drivers Task Force was originally commissioned by the DfT in 2016 to make recommendations to help older drivers continue to drive while they are still safe to do so.

Other key proposals in the new report include:

  • Introducing mandatory eyesight testing with an optometrist or medical practitioner at the age of 70 years and at further licence renewals
  • A programme to make T junctions safer – a notorious risk-point for older drivers
  • ‘Immediate’ research into the impact of physical and cognitive medical conditions, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy, that may contribute to pedal confusion
  • Standardised content for driving appraisals and certified and trained instructors to assist older drivers
  • National roll-out of an ‘alternative to prosecution’ for careless driving for older motorists

For vehicles, the report recommends that the Government takes on board EU standards of vehicle safety technology, and conducts further research into advanced occupant restraint systems such as split buckle or crisscross seat belts – in recognition of the frailty of older drivers and passengers.

Dr Suzy Charman, executive director of the Road Safety Foundation, said: “There have been some developments since the previous (Older Drivers Task Force) review, but 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.

“We hope the DfT 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.”



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    Driver behaviour at mini-roundabouts is actually worse than at T-junctions Robert!

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (0) | Disagree (6)

    Peter Whitfield suggests banning right turns. This can easily be achieved by making all T junctions mini roundabouts. Here driers go round the roundabout until they want to exit,then do a left turn. Simples

    ROBERT BOLT, St Albans
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    The report eloquently shows that right turns are problematic as age increases. Whilst modest improvements can be considered at right turn junctions, I’d have liked the recommendation to be pitched at first trying eliminating the risk at source, that is reconfiguration to prohibit right turns. Of course this won’t always be realistic but let’s aim for it !

    Peter Whitfield, Liverpool
    Agree (1) | Disagree (1)

    “A programme to make T junctions safer – a notorious risk-point for older drivers” I think that could equally read “a risk-point for all drivers” surely? Poor driver behaviour at junctons is not exclusive to older drivers!

    Hugh Jones, Cheshire
    Agree (8) | Disagree (10)

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