Elderly drivers dominating roads to ‘feel socially connected’

Philip Schofield opens up about elderly father giving up driving licence

The latest figures from the DVLA and the Department for Transport show that there are now 41,570,822 people with a full UK driving licence, up by almost half a million compared to last year.

At the same time, the number of motorists over the age of 70 has also shot up, with more than 212,000 people over 70 having a full licence.

This takes the total number of elderly drivers to 5.96 million – a huge increase of almost two million drivers compared to 2012.

Every older age group has seen a substantial increase, with nearly 100,000 extra drivers aged 80 and older – taking the total to 1.65 million.

In the last 12 months, there has also been a rise in the number of drivers over 100 years old.

Just 11 years ago, there were only 162 motorists with a valid driving licence, whereas now there are a staggering 510 centenarians still capable of being on the road.

John Wilmot, CEO of LeaseLoco, commented on the new data, saying cars allow elderly people to have the chance at better mobility.

He said: “The number of qualified drivers on UK roads has reached record levels, showing that travelling by car continues to be the main and most convenient form of transport, particularly for older people.

“Having a car also allows many older people to feel socially connected. That’s especially true in more rural areas, where public transport can be unreliable.”

When drivers reach the age of 70, they are required to renew their licence every three years, rather than younger age groups who can renew every 10 years.

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If someone is reapplying, they will need an email address, addresses of where they have lived in the last three years, a National Insurance number and a valid UK passport number.

Around three months before they reach their 70th birthday, they will receive a D46P application form in the post, allowing them to have the DVLA process their licence.

Renewal is free of charge and needs to be done every three years. When doing so, they should tick any boxes that apply to them and ensure they can continue driving vehicles they are entitled to.

The DVLA data also found that the cost of living crisis has had a significant impact on younger drivers getting on the road.

During the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people between the age of 16 and 25 who qualified to drive fell to 2.97 million, the lowest level on record.

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The number of young people with a full, valid driving licence rose by just 6,000 compared to two years ago, while the total amount sitting below three million.

The cost of living crisis, price of fuel and other household costs have had an impact on the number of younger people on the roads.

Mr Wilmot added: “The low growth amongst younger people is not surprising when you consider the impact that the cost of living crisis is having. The rise in people working from home may also have played a role.

“However, we would expect numbers to rise substantially when costs associated with owning and running a car become more manageable.”

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