Older drivers should not be ‘taken off the road’ due to new DVLA proposals

Dr Hilary discusses the risks for older drivers

Older drivers should not be forced off the roads for not being able to afford driving licence medical checks, according to a leading campaigner.

Rob Heard, a Sergeant at Hampshire Constabulary and founder of the Older Drivers Forum claimed not all elderly road users should face charges as it emerged fees could be issued to road users.

Under the current system, the DVLA pays for medical checks including eye tests for motorists renewing their driving licence.

However, the DVLA has asked whether the system should change after costs have doubled over the past decade.

A recent DVLA call for evidence has asked stakeholders to weigh in on whether it would be “appropriate for the individual customer to pay for medical investigations in relation to their fitness to drive”.

READ MORE Older drivers above age of 70 ‘should face mandatory eyesight test’, says expert

Speaking to Express.co.uk, Rob has warned fees should not be slapped on everyone including those unable to afford it.

He said: “The only issue you have is a lot of people as we age sometimes we may not have the money we used to have or the cost of living anyway.

“We shouldn’t be financially taking people off the road because they no longer can financially drive.

“We are an ageing population and we need to be taking responsibility for looking after our ageing population because it will be us at one time.

“So there may be a contribution that might be useful to put towards it but I certainly don’t think it should be [everyone].

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“Otherwise, the people who are driving on the road are the rich people who can afford these things.”

The DVLA spent just over £10million on medical checks back in 2010/11 but charges have since dramatically soared.

Between 2019/20 officials paid over £20m after steady year-on-year rises.

Older motorists were most affected with drivers between the ages of 70 and 79 most likely to require medical checks.

Mr Heard added: “Those who actually don’t have access to someone else or maybe families who rely on different things, actually the car might be the most important thing to them.

“They couldn’t afford taxis, they couldn’t afford all the other things that go with it so actually let’s try and support everybody irrespective of their wealth about making sure they are safe on the road and if necessary paying for it.

“Yes, maybe there should be a means test behind what you pay and what you don’t pay because financially it is a burden to all of us.

“But I do feel it’s a huge factor that we need to bear in mind from the cost of the reduction in public transport in many key areas which is causing people to still drive because of it.”

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