Half of Britons want older drivers banned from the roads
Half of British people want to see older motorists banned from the road entirely, according to a new survey.
The shocking approach to older motorists was revealed in a poll that also found more than half of people want the legal driving age raised and more than two-thirds back regular compulsory retesting.
Resitting the driving test
The YouGov poll, carried out for CarTakeBack in the wake of Prince Philip’s well-publicised crash, revealed that 69 per cent of people think drivers should have to resit their test when they turn 60.
But 49 per cent said that drivers should simply have their licences revoked once they reach a certain age.
Those in favour of banning older drivers said they were concerned that older people had slower reactions (71 per cent), bad eyesight (47 per cent), drove too slowly and caused congestion (33 per cent) and didn’t remember the rules of the road (26 per cent).
However, Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety for Rospa has previously warned against using age as a measure of someone’s driving ability, saying it is “completely arbitrary and unreliable”.
Raising minimum driving age
The survey also found prejudice against younger people. Thirty-seven per cent of those questioned supported raising the learner driver age to 18 and 11 per cent wanted to see it raised to 21.
When asked why they thought the minimum age should be raised, 66 per cent said it was because young people take more risks, with 56 per cent also suggesting younger drivers aren’t mature enough to be trusted.
Government data shows that 15 per cent of drivers are in their teens and 20s, but drivers in that age group are involved in 34 per cent of crashes where someone is injured, compared with the over-70s who make up eight per cent of drivers but are involved in around four per cent of “injury crashes”.
Time for serious debate
Neil Greig, IAM RoadSmart’s director of policy and research, said: “Not surprisingly, the survey shows that many people blame the old and the young for crashes when this is not always the case. In reality, new drivers are the most at risk group and older drivers are among the safest. Statistics do, however, show that drivers over 85 do start to have more crashes as their faculties fade and their experience is no longer enough to compensate.
“The clear message from the survey is that there is strong support for change and that must be harnessed to inform a new national debate about the best way to keep older drivers safer for longer and to give new drivers the experience they need for a lifetime of safe driving on the road. This debate cannot be delayed much longer as the demographic time bomb of an ageing population is ticking right now.”
A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake added: “These are certainly some interesting findings that add to the debate about the most effective ways of ensuring the safety of our younger and older drivers. It is essential to have robust procedures in place that ensure younger and older drivers are not inadvertently putting themselves and others at risk.
“A dangerous combination of inexperience and over-confidence makes younger drivers a high road safety risk, which is why we are calling for the introduction of a comprehensive Graduated Driver Licensing system in the UK.
“For older drivers, licence renewal at 70 prompts them to check and self-certify they are fit to drive but this process can be improved. The government needs to look at how fitness to drive regulation can be more rigorously enforced, such as compulsory eyesight testing.”