Elderly drivers: Confused.com put OAPs to the test

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Most elderly drivers want to continue driving as much as possible, but when asked to choose an age when they might stop driving, the average age was 82. The findings, from IAM Roadsmart, have called on more to be done to help elderly drivers reach this decision, and what they will be able to do once they stop.

Carol Hawley, Honorary Research Fellow in Neurorehabilitation at the University of Warwick, explained that some drivers may be unaware of their driving ability when they grow older.

She said: “Most 70-year-olds will make honest declarations when renewing their licence.

“The problem is that some may be unaware of gradual physical, sensory or cognitive changes which could affect their ability to drive safely.

“This means that some older people may find it difficult to recognise when they are no longer fit to drive and when it is time to stop.

“We asked respondents to rate their agreement with a series of possible measures to increase road safety.

“Almost all agreed that doctors should be required to inform patients if their medical condition may affect their fitness to drive.

“A vast majority agreed that senior drivers should pass an eyesight test every five years after having their licence renewed.

“And just over half of our respondents agreed that drivers aged around 70 should be required to have a medical examination when renewing their licence.”

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The research also recommended that the Government should conduct a comprehensive review of the driver licensing and testing system in relation to the ever-growing number of drivers over the age of 70 and beyond.

The organisation called on more information to be given to elderly drivers for the sake of helping them decide when the best time is to give up.

Ms Hawley added: “Many said that if a DIY kit was available to test their driving fitness, they would use it.

“Doctors and optometrists are the most trusted and influential advisers on fitness to drive for older people, but their role in sharing information and advising on giving up isn’t clear.

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