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Ok, Re-Test, Or Ban

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Canary42 | 03:21 Thu 11th Jan 2024 | Motoring
37 Answers 

Here's a controversial topic.  The relatives of a couple killed by an 80 year old driver want age-related re-tests introduced. 

(The 80-y-o had apparently complied with all current requirements.)

So, should there be an upper limit on driving just like there's a lower limit. Or should compulsory driving/medical tests be introduced, say on an annual basis after age 75 possibly.

I have a personal involvement here because I was ever of the opinion that very elderly drivers were a danger on the roads, and it was always my intention that I should give up driving at 80 (although naturally I had reservations as to whether I would go through with it when the time came).  Ironically, a month before my 80th birthday fate intervened and I suffered a TIA** which left me sight-impaired and led to an instant permanent driving ban.




**TIA = transient ischaemic attack, also called a "mini stroke",  a serious condition where the blood supply to the brain is temporarily disrupted.

Transient ischaemic attacks are usually caused by a blood clot blocking the blood supply to the brain.



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I don't want to give up driving, the shops are about 40 minutes away by (central London) but and 15 by car; as my remaining time shrinks I have no wish to increase the amount of it spent on buses. But an annual retest would be okay, I guess, even though I never handled reversing well.


It would be impossible to retest over 75s every year, just because of the sheer number of them.

Learners are already waiting months for a driving test.

There is over 6 million people with full driving licences aged over 70 in the UK, I can't find the figures for over 75s but that would mean a lot of extra driving tests.

Currently 1.67m driving tests are carried out a year, you can see the problem 

Good practical point Barry.

I think most people self manage the situation - as they feel less confident they reduce the distances driven and stick to familiar routes and daytime journeys. 

As sad and tragic as these stories are, accidents happen due to lack of concentration or misjudgment by people of all ages. 

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I sympathise jno, public transport in this country is appalling.

OK, I take your point Barry, but [playing devil's advocate here] should we be putting expedience before safety?

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/// lack of concentration or misjudgment by people of all ages. ///

Good point Maydup, why pick on Oldies.

I have signed petitions to ban anyone from driving for the rest of their lives if they kill someone by dangerous driving.

This chap got a ban of three years, so when he is 83yrs old, he can drive again.

I hope for goodness sake that he doesn't.

I don't see why older people should reset their tests again, but perhaps a medical test to make sure their vision is ok and their awareness.

The ones who should be retested are the young ones who speed and injure people on the roads.




They are least likely to be distracted by their mobile phones or trying to overtake on the inside lane!

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/// ...when he is 83yrs old, he can drive again.

I hope for goodness sake that he doesn't///

Yes Barsel, my sentiments too.  

^^^ oldies I mean.

Agree that anyone causing a loss of life should be banned for a very long time and then retested. 

Most drivers of all ages would fail a driving test if they took one.

I don't drive at night as I have Fuchs Dystrophy which would make me very dangerous.

Not so bad in the summer but inconvenient in the winter.  

I do think GPs, opticians and consultants should be obliged to inform the DVLA if there is a medical issue that has to be reported by the driver.  This could stop some people getting eye tests or seeing a doctor about any problems they might have, though.

As usual it's done on the cheap with fingers crossed.

Personal tragedies aren't worth 'them' spending money on creating solutions. Cheaper just to clear up the mess now and then.

Older drivers are involved in fewer fatal accidents than ANY other age group except those too young to legally drive - go figure.

Ah, fair point. An 80 year old driver causes a fatal accident so all 80 year old drivers need to be  compulsory tested.


To be consistent no doubt if a 60 year old driver causes a fatal accident all 60 year old drivers need to be  compulsory tested, and if a 40 year old driver causes a fatal accident all 40 year old drivers need to be  compulsory tested, and ...


Maybe skip the fatal accident bit and test everyone every six months to be on the safe side ? After all if one life is saved. We have to think of the children. Soon maybe we can all buy self driving cars and know that we're safe.

A good start would be to make every driving licence application, including renewals, to be accompanied by a recent eye-test certificate (say less than than 2 years old). That would catch nearly all drivers at least every 10 years. The few remaining paper-licence holders would escape until they reach 70.

I don't believe we should ban people at some sort of arbitrary age but after 70 there should be some sort of reaction test say every 3 year that they can do quickly and easy, maybe in the same place they do theory tests. I have a mate who is 91 and he drives very competently, the last accident he had ever was when some silly moo on her phone failed to stop at a side road and t boned him and wrote the car off. I don't remember another one in 30 years.


Fitness to drive isn't just about eye sight though, what about mental capacity, physical capability.


Statistically there will be a significant number of people with undiagnosed dementia, and early stages of conditions that impair reaction times a lot younger than the age suggested, or the ability to make safe judgements.  For example some types of autism reduce your ability to assess risks, ( or as my last instructor said ' there are some people who will never be safe to drive and you are one of them')

Until we have a decent screening programme for such things  there will always be cases of accidents caused be those who were not really safe to be behind a wheel.... They sometimes eventually get mobility scooters and cause mayhem on the pavements instead.

My view is simple.

1.  Invite every licence holder over the age of eighty to surrender their licence OR go on a DVLA list to agree to a medical and re-test.  This would probably mean at least half of those who have a licence to surrender. They may not even have a vehicle any more and the licence cannot even be found in their home.

2.  Using suitably qualified retired police advanced drivers to undertake  the tests, BUT judge these older drivers on their ability to drive safely and sensibly.  They will already have passed a medical including crucially an eye exmination.

3.  Stand back and watch the number of elderly driver numbers fall.  Then make the same procedure for seventy plus.

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