A new report suggests that drivers aged over 70 should be spared prosecution for running red lights, driving too slowly or being in the wrong lane on motorways…
Elderly Drivers off the Hook?
A new report, funded by the government, suggests that elderly drivers should be offered assessments of driving skills in place of prosecution for driving-related offences. As of now, Fitness to Drive schemes are only offered by a small handful of police forces. They involve a thorough assessment of a driver’s abilities with the help of driving instructors and occupational therapists. Should a driver be found unfit to take to the wheel, the DVLA is informed; which then decides whether to remove a driving licence. Sometimes, a driver is simply referred to more lessons.
Notably, those who are referred to Fitness to Drive schemes can avoid penalty points and fines if they’re successful. According to the government’s report, the schemes would be much more effective at reducing road deaths and injuries than simply prosecuting older drivers.
‘A Legacy of Safer Roads’
Dr Suzy Charman, the report’s executive director, summarised its conclusions. She said, “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. Key recommendations such as introducing mandatory eye tests at licence renewal at age 70 are considered essential and lifesaving”.
She continued, “we hope the Department for Transport 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”.
A spokesperson for the Department of Transport acknowledged the report. They said, “safety remains our top priority and we will continue to ensure we strike the right balance between keeping the roads safe and maintaining people’s personal mobility into old age. We keep all measures under review and will consider the wider outcomes of this report”.
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