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Older people 'safer on roads' says IAM

Published on 15 February 2012 01:30 PM

Contrary to popular belief older drivers are safer on the roads than their more youthful counterparts, figures have suggested.

Disproving the tired stereotype that older drivers can be a liability, figures obtained by the IAM from the DVLA reveal the rate of deaths and serious injuries in crashes among drivers over 80 is three times less than the rate for those aged 17-19.

However, drivers over the age of 80 are still generally more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash.

The figures come along with news that the number of drivers over the age of 80 has now topped one million.

Following a freedom of information request by the motoring organisation, DVLA figures show that there are now 1,012,399 drivers aged over 80. There are also 122 licence holders over the age of 100, including three 105-year-olds, and one 106-year-old woman.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: 'Older people need their cars which give them better mobility and access to more activities and services. Those who wish to continue driving beyond the age of 70 should only be prevented from doing so if there are compelling reasons.

'Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we should make them more aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them eliminate bad habits. Driving helps older people play a full and active part in society.'

Michelle Mitchell, Charity Director-General of Age UK commented: 'Ability and safety not age should determine if someone should be allowed to continue driving.

'For many older people, driving is a way of maintaining independence so it's important that they should not be prevented from doing so on the arbitrary basis of birth date alone, particularly when people's fitness and health varies so dramatically. 

'Age UK believes that older people should be given support and information to assess whether they are fit and safe enough to continue driving and provided with additional training and information about car adaptations which could make driving easier and safer.'

Copyright Press Association 2012

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Last updated: Dec 05 2018

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