21% rise in over-90s surrendering driving licences

Experts suggest the Duke of Edinburgh’s car accident last year may have contributed to a spike in over-90s voluntarily giving up driving

The number of drivers aged 90 and over surrendering their driving licences increased 21.2 per cent last year, official figures show.

In 2019, 8,014 over-90s voluntarily surrendered their driving licences – up from 6,612 in 2018. This 21.2 per cent year-on-year rise is significantly larger than the 9.7 increase that occurred between 2017 and 2018.

The DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency) data also revealed a 146.2 per cent increase in the number of drivers aged 100 and over giving up their licences in 2019.

According to retirement firm Responsible Life, which obtained the data via a Freedom of Information request, the spike in over-90s surrendering their licences could have been driven by the Duke of Edinburgh’s car accident last year, which was the subject of a lot of press coverage.

On 17 January 2019, Prince Philip – who was 97-years-old at the time – pulled out on to a busy road near the Sandringham Estate in Norfolk, failing to give way to a car already on the road which then crashed into him.

Responsible Life claims this incident may have “provided a wake-up call to the very elderly who could still legally get in the driving seat”.

Although any driver can have their licence revoked on medical grounds, there is no legal age for someone to stop driving, with people often left with the difficult job of monitoring their elderly relatives’ ability to drive.

Steve Wilkie, executive chairman of Responsible Life, commented: “When to stop driving remains one of our most difficult decisions in later life. For many retired motorists it means letting go of a symbol of their independence, even if they only make the occasional trip to the local shops.

“Older age is also cruel and creeps up on you, making it impossible to judge the best time to hang up the steering wheel and get a taxi, rather than soldier on for another year. Prince Philip’s misfortunes, however, seem to have jogged a great number of people into confronting this difficult decision head-on.”

Do you think this is a good sign? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below...

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