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Brits Won’t Face Up to Age Old Driving Conundrum


Survey reveals upper age limit for motorists is 78 years old and yet two thirds of respondents won’t tell their older friend or relative to stop driving.

  • Most people surveyed generally accept they will stop driving when they reach 78-years-old
  • 73% of those surveyed know someone over the age of 80 that still drives
  • Two thirds of respondents have not suggested that a friend or relative is too old to drive
  • 60% of respondents believe there should be no upper age limit on driving
  • 62% think a person should undertake an assessment and be declared fit when they reach 70
  • Deteriorating eyesight has the most profound effect, followed by slower reactions

Despite the fact there is no upper age limit for driving a car in the UK, a survey conducted by Carrentals.co.uk found that most people would stop driving after the age of 78.

The survey, which involved 1466 UK drivers, also revealed that while 73% of those questioned know someone over the age of 80 that still drives, two thirds of respondents would not suggest to a friend or relative that they are too old to be behind the wheel.

Gareth Robinson, MD of Carrentals.co.uk, believes this is because people are wary of confronting a friend or family member about their driving ability, particularly if it leaves both parties feeling embarrassed or ashamed. He suggests a more considerate approach to address the situation.

Robinson said: “What friends and family members need to do is become more observant. Have you noticed any unexplained bumps and scrapes? Do they seem reluctant to drive in the dark or without a passenger? If you have noticed these telling signs, then you should introduce the conversation early on to avoid conflict.”

The results of the survey also found that, although 60% of those questioned believe there should be no maximum age limit on driving, 62% support the fact that a person should undertake an assessment and be declared fit to drive by a medical professional when they reach 70.

Current legislation dictates that once a motorist reaches 70, they need to renew their licence every three years, without a standard medical assessment. Lobbyists have campaigned for drivers in their 80s to renew their licences and face tests every two years, while those in their 90s should renew each year. Gareth questions whether this would be followed through in legislation.

Robinson added: “While the majority voted for health screening, there are a significant number of people who do not want to enforce it, possibly due to the potential added cost for the motorist. If the fees for medical assessments are referred to the individual, there would be significant political and legislative implications. Similarly, it would be a huge financial burden on the state, given that the total cost to test all drivers over 70 would be £1.6bn and rising.”

“We cannot solely rely on legislative changes. If a person complains that their eyesight is getting worse, or their reaction times are noticeably slower, suggest they see their GP or optician for a check-up. By simply asking questions and taking some responsibility for your friends and relatives’ wellbeing, you reduce the risk of a serious accident.”