Making Roads Safer for Older Drivers
Older drivers (70+) do not pose a significant risk to other road users, but their relative frailty means that they are over-represented in serious crashes – particularly those over 80. A new report from The Older Drivers Task Force highlights that:
For drivers over 80, the rate of being killed or seriously injured, per licence held, is as high as for those aged 21-29
Serious injuries among the young reflect inexperience; for older drivers it’s about their fragility
We have an ageing population so expect huge increases in licences held by older drivers
So older driver deaths will increase if we do not take decisive action now
Car driver deaths in the 70-79 age group are forecast to increase by 40% over the next 20 years, and by more than a quarter in the 80+ age group
A series of recommendations will help curb these increases. Setting targets to reduce deaths and serious injuries for drivers over 70 by 50% by 2030 and to have a longer-term aspiration for zero deaths by 2050 is a key recommendation in Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age, a summary report issued today by a team of experts funded by the Department of Transport.
Other proposals include:introducing mandatory eyesight testing with an optometrist or medical practitioner providing a driver ‘MOT’ of eyesight at licence renewal at the age of 70 and at further renewals;
a programme of making T junctions safer – a notorious risk-point for older drivers;
immediate research into the impact of physical and cognitive medical conditions, including diabetic peripheral neuropathy, that may contribute to pedal confusion;
standardised content for Driving Appraisals and certified and trained instructors to assist older drivers;
and a national roll-out of an alternative to prosecution for careless driving for older motorists.
For vehicles, the report also recommends that the government takes on board:
EU standards of vehicle safety technology and
further research into advanced occupant restraint systems such as split buckle or crisscross seat belts in recognition of the frailty of older drivers and passengers.
RoadSafe is an active member of the Older Drivers Task Force chaired by John Plowman which was originally commissioned in 2016 to make its recommendations, acknowledging the importance of people living an active and healthy life into older age, and that age itself does not give an indicator of how fit a person is to drive. The aim is to support older drivers to continue to drive while they are still safe to do so.
The first report from The Older Drivers Task Force published in 2016 - Making Older Drivers Safer for Longer is available here:
More knowledge is available on the Older Mobility web site here
Related news, events and information
11 March 2010 – Devon County Council, Devon and Cornwall Constabulary and the Highways Agency have launched a campaign offering...
4 July 2016 – The recommendations are made by the Older Drivers Task Force which today publishes Supporting Safe Driving into...
13 January 2011 – The massive reduction in fatalities within the UK's two most vulnerable age groups is the key finding of...
18 January 2010 – Drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are considerably safer than...
29 January 2020 – Release from the RAC Foundation. With now more than 5 million older drivers in Britain, offering higher levels...
6 March 2017 – Following a further review of the recommendations of Supporting Safe Driving into Old Age, published by The...
7 February 2024 – The RSGB Academy is encouraging more driving instructors to sign up for its Ageing Driver Course , which is...
8 February 2011 – That's the question posed by the latest report from the RAC Foundation, which asks how older drivers can be...
11 May 2015 – Although older drivers have been proved to be significantly safer than their younger counterparts, last autumn...