Statistics collated by the DVLA and shared by the Institute of Advanced Motorists suggest that the number of drivers on UK roads aged 70 and above is rising by more than 10,000 a month. Whilst there is nothing to suggest this should be a problem it does mean the IAM are calling on the government to create a focused action plan in collaboration with medical professionals and assessment providers, to ensure this generation of drivers have the support they need on our roads.
IAM have taken action at a point where figures have shown for the first time that there are more than 4.34 million license holders in the UK aged over 70 and this is an increase of 11% from 2012, according to government driving licence data. This figure equates to the 10,000 more drivers over this age per month and this includes over 1 million drivers aged over 80 since 2014. There are also a surprisingly large number of drivers over 90, more than 11,000 and 232 licence holders aged over 100 which is again a significant increase on three years ago.
Looking at these figures, experts are able to project that they could double once again in the next 20 years and this is something which needs to be addressed as the current system doesn’t provide the right kind of support that older drivers need.
Older Drivers’ Road Safety
Research by the IAM shows that the most common factors in accidents involved drivers over 70 were:
- Failing to judge the other driver’s path or speed
- Poor turn or manoeuvre
- Illness or disability
- Dazzling sun
- Nervousness, anxiety or panic
- Losing control
The research also highlighted that many of these factors are associated with deteriorating physical and cognitive functioning, as comes with age. Despite these figures though, the IAM are clear to state that older drivers are proven to be the safest on our roads. Being safer doesn’t mean that older drivers don’t need don’t need adequate systems in place to ensure their safety and the safety of others on the road. IAM is calling for the government to create a dedicated action plan for older drivers, as well as better information for older drivers and their families. They also want more car manufacturers to consider older drivers when designing vehicles and for the development of online self-assessment tools for older drivers to become a priority. This is just the beginning for IAM who recognise that older drivers need attention in the same way as young drivers too.