With the number of older drivers set to more than double to six million in the next 20 years, the 2010 RAC Report on Motoring reveals 84% of drivers aged 70 or over acknowledge the value in a refresher driving course, and 69% of all motorists support compulsory medical checks at age 70 and above.
A review of the requirements for older drivers has received the backing of driving legend Sir Stirling Moss OBE, who said: “As an 80 year old driver I can clearly relate to the topic of elderly motorists and I support the idea of tests for the older generation.
“The statistics show that although as a group we are less likely to be involved in an accident, we are more likely to be the cause of an accident, whether we are caught up in it or not – a sign that our reaction times are not what they once used to be.”
The Report shows that 80% of over 70s have been driving for more than 30 years, with 45% driving 50 years or more – and 86% have had no additional driver training or assessment since passing their test.
David Bizley, RAC, says: “Motorists of all ages clearly believe in the value of refresher courses to improve old skills and learn new ones. Reviewing this now will save considerable pain in the future and continue the journey towards safer roads for everyone.
“Older motorists have the challenge of personal mobility and independence and RAC would welcome Government initiatives to help them to continue to drive safely.
“We need to take an evidence-based approach as to what checks should happen and at what age. Older motorists are resistant to any compulsory checks understandably, but they are also much fitter and healthier now than ever before – 70 could well be the new 60 for motorists’ health. At the same time we need credible, well-resourced alternatives for those motorists who can no longer drive. Motorists don’t suddenly stop wanting to travel once they hand over their car keys.”
Other themes from the report include:
• The biggest concern for motorists this year is the behaviour of other drivers: 97% are concerned about drunk or drugged drivers, 96% are concerned about mobile phone usage when driving, 95% are concerned about driving without tax or insurance.
• There has been a big increase in motorists admitting to breaking the law when it comes to mobile phone usage in their vehicles: 28% are using their mobile phone without a hands free kit, up from 8% last year, and 31% are texting when driving, up from 11% last year.