The Older Drivers Task Force has recently been published. It sets out a strategy for better solutions for older drivers and their safety on the road. The report is the first of its kind to be published and it comes after the Older Drivers website was launched by RoSPA in early 2016. The task force report has made a number of recommendations which incorporate eye sight tests and mandatory licence renewals. The report is necessary because many older drivers are involved in accidents and may need more support on the roads.
The report, Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age is the first example of a dedicated national strategy for older drivers. It was put together based on research and expertise. More than 25 experts and representatives of the transport, health, policing, car manufacturing, insurance and licensing sectors contributed.
The task force looked closely at international research and evidence, the available technology and present road safety schemes. This information was all pulled together to make recommendations for the government so they can make the roads safer. The report makes it clear that both the government and industry need to work together to support older drivers. They also need to give older drivers the opportunity to remain on the roads and maintain independence, as long as it’s safe.
Many leading road safety organisations have commented on a need for more to be done for older drivers. In addition to this several organisations have called for the goverment to do more. Now there is a clearly written strategy, the government has the tools to act. With support from many different bodies it seems like the government will have to listen.
Older Driver Strategy Recommendations
The strategy lays out a range of different recommendations to support older drivers including:
- Raising the level at which drivers automatically have to notify the DVLA of any medical conditions from 70 to 75. Only on the basis that eye sight tests are made compulsory.
- The DVLA requiring evidence of an eyesight test at every licence renewal.
- Recommendation that a consumer body puts together specific advice on modern car safety with older drivers in mind. It should also highlight features of special significance.
- Piloting newly designed products which give older people an alternative to driving.
- Evaluating the existing driver courses available. This should aim to improve information provided for older drivers and medical professionals.
- The improvement of road design, signage and markings to meet the highest standards worldwide. This will both specifically aid older drivers and benefit everyone on the roads.
- The pooling of data and research from insurers focused on major claims involved older drivers. This is to futher understand the causes behind the accidents.
Chairman of the Older Driver Task Force, John Plowman, commented: “Our aim is to help older people drive safely for longer by changing our culture.
“A key precondition is that older motorists should be medically fit to drive and seek advice when a limiting condition develops or gets worse, but age itself should not be a barrier to safe driving.”
Older drivers are amongst the most vulnerable road users therefore they need to be protected. As a result of protecting them the roads in general should become safer.