Elderly drivers who possess health problems could soon face restrictions on driving at night under new government proposals…
Restrictions for Elderly Drivers
Drivers who are aged 70+ and possess health problems could soon be banned from driving at night. In addition, they may be forced to stay in proximity to their homes; with trackers being fitted to their cars to ensure that they comply. Discussions between the DVLA and Driving Mobility have also raised the possibility of graduated driving licenses being introduced. These could restrict older drivers to a radius of 20 or 30 miles from their homes.
Under current rules, driving licenses expire once a person reaches 70. Those who wish to remain behind the wheel must inform the DVLA of any medical conditions that could affect their performance on the road. This must be done every three years. According to studies, there are more elderly drivers on the nation’s roaders than ever before. The proportion of drivers over 70 has doubled in the last 25 years. Whilst older drivers are generally the safest, deaths are increasing; 95 in 2010 to 145 last year.
A Cause for Loneliness and Isolation?
The restrictive proposals, as one might expect, has attracted opposition. Edmund King, president of the AA, has suggested that the proposals would isolate senior citizens and increase loneliness. Instead, he suggested that medical professionals need to report drivers with serious medical conditions more consistently. He said, “they are there to save lives and what better way to save lives than to prevent someone who you know is capable of killing through their own medical condition”.
Edward Trewhella, chief executive of Driving Mobility, defend the proposals. She explained that older drivers tend to stick to their local areas already, “they go to the shop, the doctor’s surgery, go and see a granddaughter down the road, probably on minor roads with which they are familiar”. She added, “this process would regularise that, and make it legal for them to do so as long as they didn’t take a trip outside of an area or outside of a time restriction. That would mean that they were driving safely within their familiar environment”.
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