The pending demise of the paper driving licence has given us plenty of reasons to step back and look at how UK roads are evolving. Among the most profound changes is a gradually rising number of elderly drivers still operating vehicles. According to statistics cited by Motoring Research, there are now more than 230 drivers in the UK over the age of 100. That number is expected to double within the next two decades.
Young versus old
More impressive is the fact that nearly 10,000 new drivers over the age of 70 are added to the rolls every month. New licence holders – licence holders who have never legally sat behind the wheel of a car before – are getting onto the road for the first time as pensioners. Whether or not this is positive depends on your perspective.
Some make the case that so many elderly drivers increase the likelihood of accidents due to the reduced ability of age. Yet others claim this is not the case, given the fact that the majority of road accidents are attributed to younger drivers with a combination of inexperience and a willingness to drive more aggressively. In the end, however, whether or not a person deserves to hold a driving licence depends on his or her ability to drive safely.
The Institute for Advanced Motorists is calling on car manufacturers and the government to give greater consideration to elderly drivers moving forward. Manufacturers could do a better job designing vehicles that take into account the physical changes of age. The government could invest more resources in better training for older drivers as well as additional guidance to suggest when a senior driver should consider relinquishing a driving licence.
It should be noted that senior drivers over the age of 70 make up 9% of the driving public yet only account for 6% of the injuries and deaths related to car accidents. By contrast, younger drivers under the age of 30 make up 20% of the driving public and account for 36% of injuries and deaths. It is also 10 times more likely that a younger driver will be caught using a mobile phone whilst driving than a more 'senior' motorist. Are the two statistics connected perhaps?
It would seem that the lesson to be learned from the statistics is one of driving responsibility. Regardless of a driver's age, the holding of a licence does not guarantee safety by any means. How a driver approaches the task is the most important thing to consider.
Do individual drivers know their limitations? Do they know and understand the law? Do they understand that their cars can become deadly weapons in the event of an accident?
At Fleet Licence Check, we are doing our part to contribute to safer UK roads by providing licence check services and claims handling for motoring companies of all sizes. Over the years, we have checked tens of thousands of licences on behalf of our clients. We can check the licences of your drivers as well. You provide the necessary information; we run the licence check and return the results directly to you.
1.Motoring Research – http://www.motoringresearch.com/car-news/232-uk-driving-licence-holders-are-over-100-and-this-could-double-0515975512