A Strategy is Needed for Older Drivers, Says IAM

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The number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18 per cent (12,400) over the next five years. By 2017, there will be 82,400 ninety-year-olds driving on the roads. At present, there are 70, 000 drivers over 90.

The number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18 per cent (12,400) over the next five years according to new figures by the IAM. By 2017, there will be 82,400 ninety-year-olds driving on the roads. At present, there are 70, 000 drivers over 90.

The number of eighty-year-old drivers is currently 1,049,058, this is set to rise by 22 per cent to around 1,283,000 in the next ten years.

Drivers over the age of sixty-five now make up 25 per cent of licence holders – a figure that is set to rise as more and more baby boomers reach retirement age.

Currently there are 154 drivers over 100 including one 106 year-old and two 105-year-olds.

Drivers over 70 are no more likely to cause crashes than any other driver, and are considerably safer than younger drivers, according to research by the IAM. Eight per cent of drivers are over 70 yet they only account for four per cent of all injury crashes.

Currently, motorists are required to renew their licence at 70 and then every three years after that.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Today, over 10 million people can expect to reach 100 so the chances are they’ll be driven around by their 70 year-old children. While their frailty puts them at risk if they are in a crash, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are a risk to other drivers.

"Despite the increase in numbers, we should resist calls for compulsory retests for elderly drivers. The government needs a strategy now on how it is going to manage more elderly drivers and make them more aware of the risks they face. The top priority must be non-compulsory driving assessments available nationwide to help them deal with modern high speed traffic and eliminate any bad habits."

“Better training for GPs and other medical staff is also needed to ensure information and options are clearly spelt out. Finally those nearing retirement need to start planning now for their future transport needs and the inevitable day when they may have to lay down their car keys forever.”

Notes to editors:    

1. These figures are calculated by the IAM using a freedom of information request to the DVLA (August 2012) and ‘projected populations at mid-years by age last birthday in five-year age groups’ from the Office of National Statistics (2011). They are conservative estimates based on the proportion of people that currently drive, as older people will stay healthy for longer in the future it is fair to assume that more people will continue to drive for longer. The figures cover England, Scotland and Wales.

2. The IAM is the UK’s largest independent road safety charity, dedicated to improving standards and safety in driving, motorcycling and cycling. The commercial division of the IAM operates through its occupational driver training company IAM Drive & Survive. The IAM has more than 200 local volunteer groups and over 100,000 members in the UK and Ireland. It is best known for the advanced driving test and the advanced driving, motorcycling and cycling courses. Its policy and research division offers advice and expertise on road safety.

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Media contacts:

IAM Press Office – 020 8996 9777
press(dot)office(at)iam(dot)org(dot)uk
ISDN broadcast lines available
iam.org.uk

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Tanvir Nandra
Institute of Advanced Motorists
02089969777
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