Over 70s in poor health are facing ban on night time driving in licence shake up


Motorists over 70 who are in poor health are facing ban on night time driving in licence shake up and will only be allowed to travel up to 30 miles from their home

  • Drivers over age of 70 with health conditions could be allowed to keep licences
  • New proposals would see them restricted to a 20-30 mile area from their home
  • Elderly drivers could also be banned from driving in the dark under proposals

Drivers over the age of 70 who suffer from poor health could be allowed to retain their licences if they stick to roads in their local area. 

New proposals being discussed by the DVLA and Driving Mobility would also see elderly motorists installing a tracker on their vehicle as part of a ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme. 

The discussions come as data shows an increase in the number of drivers over the age of 70 on the road, doubling over the last 25 years, the Sunday Times reports. 

Statistics also show that the number of deaths on the road involving motorists in this age group also rose from 95 in 2010 to 145 in 2020.

Drivers over the age of 70 who suffer from poor health could be allowed to retain their licences if they stick to roads in their local area and install a tracker on their vehicles (stock image)

Drivers over the age of 70 who suffer from poor health could be allowed to retain their licences if they stick to roads in their local area and install a tracker on their vehicles (stock image)

The new ‘graduated driving licences’ would see elderly drivers, suffering with health problems, restricted to an area of just 20 or 30 miles from their home and could see a night time ban enforced.

Edward Trewhella, chief executive of Driving Mobility, said that many elderly drivers tend to stick to their local areas anyway when driving, making short trips to carry out personal errands. 

He said: ‘This process would regularise that, and make it legal for them to do so as long as they didn’t take a trip outside of an area or outside of a time restriction.’

At present, a driving licence expires when a motorist reaches the age of 70 and those who wish to stay on the road have to contact the DVLA.

There are 5,525,452 drivers aged 70 and over holding a full driver’s licence in the UK. Of these, there are 89,420 87-year-olds. 

They must also make the organisation aware of any health conditions they have which could affect their safety behind the wheel – and a review is carried out every three years.

New proposals being discussed by the DVLA and Driving Mobility would also see elderly motorists installing a tracker on their vehicle as part of a 'graduated driving licence' scheme

New proposals being discussed by the DVLA and Driving Mobility would also see elderly motorists installing a tracker on their vehicle as part of a ‘graduated driving licence’ scheme

This isn’t uncommon though, as the DVLA requires drivers of any age to declare medical conditions which could impair their driving. 

Despite this, a pilot scheme run in Hampshire, which allows elderly drivers involved in motoring accidents the option of taking a fitness-to-drive test rather than facing prosecution, has found that 30 per cent of those involved had not notified the DVLA of their health conditions.

However, Edmund King, president of the AA has warned rather than introducing restrictions, greater expectations should be placed on medical professionals to flag motorists who are not fit to drive.

He said: ‘They are there to save lives and what better way to save lives than to prevent someone who you know is capable of killing through their own medical condition.’

In 2019, a report by the Association of Optometrists found that the vision quality among as many as a third of all drivers falls below legal standards.

It is estimated that more than 2,000 accidents could be avoided each year if regular eyesight checks were in place.

At present, a driving licence expires when a motorist reaches the age of 70 and those who wish to stay on the road have to contact the DVLA (stock image)

At present, a driving licence expires when a motorist reaches the age of 70 and those who wish to stay on the road have to contact the DVLA (stock image) 

The news comes weeks after the Government unveiled plans for a £3billion ‘green revolution’ which would see hundreds of miles of new bus lanes constructed to deter people from driving.

Also included in the plans were simpler fares with daily price caps for multiple journeys across different types of public transport. 

The £3billion investment will also help fund 4,000 UK-built electric or hydrogen vehicles to provide clean, quiet and zero-emission travel. There will also be a consultation on an end-date to the sale of new diesel buses.

The Department for Transport hope the strategy will see passengers in England benefiting from more frequent, more reliable, easier to use, better coordinated and cheaper bus services.

The strategy, which reverses much of Margaret Thatcher’s 1986 deregulation, risks angering motorists, who could face longer journeys.

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