Over 70s Could See Driving Freedoms Restricted

Thu 1st Apr 2021

Controversial measures being proposed by the Driver and Vehicle and Licensing Agency in partnership with charity Driving Mobility could see drivers in the UK over the age of 70 banned from driving at night and having a limit on how far they can travel.

With drivers at the age of 70 having to reapply for their driving licence and declare if they have any conditions or illnesses which affect their ability to drive, some campaigners are suggesting that tracking technology might give some more freedom to drive, whereas previously they would have faced a ban.

The discussions, which have been reported in the Sunday Times suggest that telematics devices could be fitted to vehicles of those with certain medical conditions, and for older drivers also, to measure a driver’s ability to brake, accelerate and corner. Other plans include limiting drivers to travelling within 20 to 30 miles of their home, or only driving during daylight hours.

 “A lot of older drivers stick within their own locality — they go to the shop, the doctor’s surgery, go and see a granddaughter down the road, probably on minor roads with which they are familiar.” said Edward Trewhella, chief executive of Driving Mobility in The Sunday Times, adding that the restrictions “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. That would mean that they were driving safely within their familiar environment.”

Despite the proposals seemingly giving a new lease of life to those drivers with illnesses who feel that they are able to drive, Edmund King, president of the AA warned that restrictions on the elderly could be counter-productive. 

“One has to tread very, very carefully before introducing restrictions,” King said, suggesting that medical professionals are best placed to make decisions.

“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.”