The number of older people with a driving licence now exceeds the four million mark, according to data analysis by the RAC Foundation.
The Foundation’s analysis shows there are now 4,018,900 men and women aged 70 or over with a valid full British licence. Of these, 191 are aged 100 or over. The oldest licence holder is a woman aged 107 and the oldest licence-holding man is 106.
The RAC Foundation says that while not all of these licence holders will be active drivers, the statistics illustrate the growing number of older people who still use a car. And with the Government predicting that around 10 million UK citizens will reach their 100th birthday, the Foundation says this total is set to increase “dramatically”.
At age 70, and every three years thereafter, drivers must declare whether or not they are fit to drive. This self-declaration is not made on the basis of any formal medical or driving test, but relies on the judgement of the individual.
To help people make the right decision, Rica, a national research charity providing information to older and disabled consumers, has published a new guide aimed at keeping older people mobile and safe for longer.
The guide, Driving safely for life, covers a range of topics including what the law says about people’s ability to drive, assessing capabilities, vehicle modifications, driving habits, and maintaining a good quality of life after stopping driving.
Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said: “In general, older drivers have an enviable safety record but it is clear that faced with this critical yes or no decision many motorists simply do not have a realistic view of their capabilities.
“For those reliant on a car, giving up driving will have a huge impact on their ability to live an active life so it is important that they get all the help and support to make the right decision at the right time.
“The RAC Foundation does not support compulsory retesting at a set age because this presumes that on reaching a particular birthday people’s physical and mental capacities change radically. But we do see an important need for an ongoing dialogue with motorists and encouragement from officials and the medical profession for all of us to regularly consider our abilities – whatever our age.”
Dr Jasper Holmes, co-director of Rica said: “Rica has found that people don’t know where to go for trusted sources of information and advice.
“We’re really pleased to launch this new guide with the RAC Foundation that gives clear and trustworthy advice on a sensitive issue affecting older people.
“The guide sits alongside other useful information on our website to help people stay independent and involved, including a unique car measurement search tool.”
For more information contact Chris Lofthouse at Rica on 020 7427 2467.