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2012-09-18 12:13

PREPARE TO SEE MORE OF THIS: Not exactly a sight you want to see in your rear-view mirror or when you're crossing the street, but research reveals older drivers are not necessarily more dangerous behind the wheel.

Stories about older drivers might have led many to think people over the age of 70 are bad drivers by default.

This is not always true, however; according to research by Britain's Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other age group and are said to be considerably safer than younger drivers.


Motorists in the UK are required to renew their licences once they reach 70 years and every three years thereafter.

Eight per cent of drivers in Great Britain are over 70 yet they account for only 4% of all crashes, the IAM said.

This figure is likely to increase though, the driver safety agency added. The number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18% (12 400) over the next five years. By 2017, it is projected there will be 82 400 90-year-olds driving on the roads. Currently there are 70 000 drivers over 90 on Britain's roads.


The number of 80-year-old drivers is currently just over one million; this is set to rise by 22% to around 1.2-million in the next 10 years.

There are also 154 drivers over 100 including one 106 year-old and two 105-year-olds.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Today, over 10 million people can expect to reach 100 so the chances are they’ll be driven around by their 70 year-old children. While their frailty puts them at risk if they are in a crash, that doesn’t necessarily mean they are a risk to other drivers.

"Despite the increase in numbers, we should resist calls for compulsory retests for elderly drivers. The (UK) government needs a strategy now on how it is going to manage more elderly drivers and make them more aware of the risks they face. The top priority must be non-compulsory driving assessments available nationwide to help them deal with modern high speed traffic and eliminate any bad habits.

“Finally those nearing retirement need to start planning now for their future transport needs and the inevitable day when they may have to lay down their car keys for ever,” Best concluded.

Read more on:    road safety

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