Experts say that older drivers should be allowed to avoid prosecution for careless driving.
According to experts funded by the Department for Transport, drivers who are aged 70 and over should be allowed to avoid prosecution or fines for running red lights or driving unnecessarily slow and should instead have their skills assessed.
The Older Drivers Task Force has recommended various “lifesaving” ideas to the government on keeping elderly people on the roads for longer.
One of the recommendations is a mandatory sight test for people who are over 70 and applying to renew their licence.
Another recommendation is fitness-to-drive checks in England. These are currently only available in a few police forces, such as Hampshire Constabulary.
When a person is believed to be an unsafe driver a report is sent to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency, which decides on the action.
In some cases, the driver is referred for lessons and offered a reassessment within three months.
Drivers who are sent for an assessment will avoid the usual £100 fine and penalty points for careless driving.
Chairman of the Older Drivers Task Force John Plowman has insisted that drivers that are older are not a “major risk”, however, they are more likely to die in a car crash due to their fragility.
These recommendations come as the number of over 85-year-old drivers is going to reach 1,000,000, which is almost double, over the next three years and experts have warned that the UK should prepare for this change.
According to latest figures from the Department for Transport, there are 5.7 million people in the UK that are 70 and over with a full driving licence. There are also 489 people who are at least 100-years-old.
Insurers have said recent “catastrophic” claims for more than £50,000 indicates that older drivers, possibly those who are over 80, could mean a higher risk of very serious injuries to third parties.
Andy Watson, CEO of Ageas, the third largest motor insurer in the UK, said: “We spotted from our claims data that older drivers – the over 75s – became less safe as the years went by and, considering they drive fewer miles, became involved in more really serious crashes than middle-aged drivers.”
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