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Number of elderly drivers banned for medical reasons skyrockets

Data shows the number of drivers aged 70 or older banned from driving on medical grounds has increased by nearly 150 per cent

Older drivers

The number of drivers aged 70 or older banned from driving for medical reasons has increased by nearly 150 per cent in the space of a decade, according to new data.

Almost 22,500 elderly motorists had their licences revoked on medical grounds in 2018, according to DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) figures obtained by the Times via a Freedom of Information request.

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Drivers should have an eye test every decade, urge experts

The data shows 61,482 car and motorbike licences - for drivers of all ages - were revoked for medical reasons last year – an increase of 116.8 per cent since 2010.

Yet over the same period, the number of drivers aged 70 and over having their licences revoked on medical grounds shot up by 142 per cent, from 9,265 in 2010, to 22,453 in 2018.

Two-thirds of 70+year-olds currently hold a driving licence, up from 39 per cent in the mid-1990s. The issue of elderly drivers holding licences was thrown into sharp relief back in January, when Prince Philip’s Land Rover Freelander collided with a Kia near the Queen’s private home at Sandringham in Norfolk.

A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake told the Times that regulation around drivers’ fitness to drive should be “more rigorously enforced” via means such as compulsory eyesight tests.

AA president Edmund King echoed this sentiment, calling for evidence of regular eye tests for elderly drivers and stricter guidance from GPs.

Caroline Abrahams, charity director of Age UK, disagreed though and pointed out that older drivers are, on average, less likely to have an accident than younger drivers.

Meanwhile, the Department for Transport said the issue of older drivers would be addressed in a “refreshed road safety statement” later in the year.”

Do you think more should be done to help elderly drivers maintain their licences? Let us know your thoughts in the comments...

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