Elderly drivers need ‘independence’ with licence renewal rules
Philip Schofield opens up about elderly father giving up driving licence
At present, once a motorist reaches 70 years of age, they will need to renew their driving licence every three years, rather than 10 years for other age groups. Drivers can do this via the DVLA website, or with a physical copy they can get from the Post Office with the D46P application form.
At any age, people must inform the DVLA about any changes to their driving ability, much may happen more often as their age increases.
This can include cognitive changes, ailments which could affect their eyesight and even any physical changes.
Drivers are sent notifications 90 days before their 70th birthday, reminding them of the licence changes which will apply to them in the near future.
Data from the DVLA suggests that elderly drivers are more likely to have failed to look properly in a serious crash compared to younger motorists.
This reason was the reason for 30 percent of incidents in which at least one person was killed or seriously injured between 2016 and 2021.
One expert, Louise Yasities, elderly safety expert at Taking Care Personal Alarms, commented on the measures elderly drivers could take to stay mobile and active.
Speaking to Express.co.uk, she said: “Apply for a bus pass which allows you to travel for free between 9.30am and 11pm Monday to Friday, and all day at weekends and on public holidays.
“Some cities and towns offer discounts for off-peak travel usage. For example in Manchester, it’s free to get a travel pass that allows older people to use the bus system as much as they want.
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“For an extra £10 a year, residents can also get unlimited off-peak access to the tram and popular train routes around the region.”
Once someone reaches 60 years of age, they are able to apply for an older person’s bus pass (London, Scotland, Northern Ireland and Wales), as well as a senior Railcard.
People living in England but outside of London will need to wait until they reach the State Pension age, which is currently 66 years old.
These measures are designed to make it easier for people who cannot drive as easily to remain a part of the community.
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There are no maximum age restrictions on drivers in the UK, with data showing hundreds of people over the age of 100 who are still on the roads.
Louise Yasities also highlighted the good work that charities can help with, including Age UK, which offers a door-to-door minibus service for trips to the GP, shops or care homes.
She added: “For many people in later life, being elderly and driving is a vital way for them to maintain independence and do the things they need and enjoy.
“It’s crucial that elderly people maintain their independence, as research shows this has an impact on both their physical and mental health.
“However, it’s important that this independence is maintained in the right way and that road safety laws are respected.”
DVLA data shows the oldest holder of a full driving licence is 108 years old, with the RAC Foundation finding that there are 1.65 million driving licence holders in Great Britain aged over 80.
Generally, older drivers are more likely to be killed or seriously injured per licence held, according to the Older Drivers Task Force.
The 2021 Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age report stated: “Although the number of car driver deaths per licence held is falling, it is not doing so sufficiently quickly to offset the projected increase in the numbers of people with a licence who are aged 70-79.”
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