Local over-70s may face driving curfews in a major driving licence shake-up currently under high-level discussion. The new plans would see elderly motorists with health conditions restricted to a 20-30 mile area from their home and banned from driving in the dark.
The Sunday Times has today (28.03.2021) reported that these proposals are being discussed by the DVLA and Driving Mobility which would also see elderly motorists having to install a tracker on their vehicle as part of a ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme. These discussions come as data shows an increase in the number of drivers over the age of 70 on the road, doubling over the last 25 years. The number of deaths on the road among this age group jumped from 95 in 2010 to 145 last year, while fatalities for every other age group fell sharply or stayed stable. Official data from the Department for Transport shows the riskiest time for collisions involving older drivers is between 4pm and 8pm on weekdays.
At present, a driving licence expires when a motorist reaches the age of 70 and those who wish to stay on the road have to contact the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency (DVLA). Motorists must inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) of medical conditions such as dementia, Parkinson’s, epilepsy, diabetes — if it is treated with insulin — and any condition that affects both eyes or the total loss of sight in one eye.
Critics of the current self-referral system include Patricia Colquhoun, 69, who lost her son Neil, 28, when 90-year-old Turner Waddell, a one-eyed GP with dementia, drove a mile the wrong way down a dual carriageway. A pilot scheme run in Hampshire has found that over 30 per cent of those involved had not notified the DVLA of their health conditions.
Edmund King, president of the AA told the Sunday Times that rather than introducing restrictions on over-70s, medical professionals should be flagging motorists who are not fit to drive. He said: ‘They are there to save lives and what better way to save lives than to prevent someone who you know is capable of killing through their own medical condition.’