Retest elderly drivers. PACTS report urges

Pensioners should be offered refresher driving courses to help ensure they are safe behind the wheel. A Whitehall advisory group The Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety (Pacts) made the recommendations in response to a continuing surge in the numbers of elderly drivers. It said the courses would be voluntary and 'non-threatening' and should be made available to older drivers throughout the UK. Some local authorities already offer refresher courses for elderly drivers but not many take-up the refresher course as elderly drivers fear that the courses are 'tests' which could lead to them having their driving licence taken away. Under the scheme elderly drivers would sign up for a course voluntarily, but could also be recommended to them by their GP, a family member or even a police officer who deems it sensible. The report, from the Parliamentary Advisory Committee for Transport Safety – Pacts – drew the distinction between drivers who were at risk and those who posed a risk to others – saying that older road users tended to be in the former group. One of the reasons behind the suggestions was because the UK has national speed awareness courses for people who are caught speeding and so maybe there should be a similar course for older drivers. The report also points out that the numbers of older drivers will increase as people live and continue to drive longer. The proportion of over-70s who drive increased by nearly 60% during 2010, this was from 15% in 1975. 8 in 10 of those aged 60-69 years hold driving licences and are expected to continue to drive for the next 20 years. The same proportion of 30-39 year olds are licence holders and are expected to drive until at least 2050. Also today there are also more than 1 million drivers aged over 80. Under UK law, licences must be renewed at the age of 70 and every 3 years thereafter. With the responsibility being on the drive to self-certify themselves as being fit and able to drive.

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