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There are over 4 million licence holders over 70 on UK roads; 320,000 more than three years ago. This is an increase of 11% from 3.9 million in 2012. Of those, 1.17 million drivers are over 80. There are more than 11,000 licence holders in their 90s, while there are also 232 licence holders over 100. Britain’s oldest licence holder in 2015 was 107.
Analysis by road safety researcher Jean Hopkin, compared the crash circumstances of 30,000 drivers over the age of 60 with those of 28,000 drivers in their 50s, over the seven year period between 2000 and 2006. The report highlighted that drivers over the age of 60 as a group are safer than most other age groups. They are safer by far than drivers in their teens and twenties – eight per cent of drivers are over 70, yet they are involved in around four per cent of injury crashes. In contrast, the 15 per cent of drivers who are in their teens and twenties are involved in 34 per cent of injury crashes.
Drivers over the age of 60 are some of the safest on the roads, because they have a more cautious and restrained driving style. They also have many years of driving experience, they are more risk averse and will avoid driving in challenging conditions (bad weather, or when there is heavy traffic). They will avoid driving at night when there’s not much light. Few older drivers drink and drive, or take illegal drugs, and most don’t commit speeding offences.
That said, studies and surveys have shown that older drivers are particularly over-represented in crashes at intersections, where typically the older driver turns against oncoming traffic with right of way on the main road. The study investigated the correlation between ‘failed to look’ errors, which previous studies have identified as a key factor in crashes involving older drivers, and visuo-cognitive deficits.
According to the report ‘Keeping Older Drivers Safe and Mobile’, the majority of older drivers are in favour of tighter rules on checking the health and suitability of over 70s to drive. IAM RoadSmart worked with Dr Carol Hawley and her team at Warwick Medical School to survey more than 2,600 drivers and former drivers on their opinions, habits and motoring history.
An analysis of crash circumstances of 30,000 drivers over the age of 60 between 2000 and 2006.
This study investigated the correlation between ‘failed to look’ errors involving older drivers and visuo-cognitive deficits.
The number of drivers over the age of 70 will double over the next 20 years and there are now over one million licence holders over the age of 80.
Survey of more than 2,600 drivers and former drivers to gain fresh insights on their opinions, habits and motoring history.