Calls to adapt roads to make them safer for older drivers

Calls to adapt roads to make them safer for older drivers
The Government has been urged to adapt the country’s road network in order to make it safer for an ageing population.

Ministers are reported to have backed the recommendations made in the report from the Older Drivers Task Force.

These include the replacement of T-junctions with roundabouts which, it is thought, could make roads easier to navigate for the elderly.

The report cites figures showing that the risk of over-75s being involved in fatal accidents at T-junctions is double that of younger drivers.

IN OTHER NEWS: Road traffic fatalities fall to second lowest level on record

Using roundabouts instead could make it easier for pensioners to pull out into traffic.

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The report said: “Given that the percentage of serious accidents at T-junctions increases significantly with age after 65, and that this does not happen at roundabouts, it would be worth studying the value of installing mini-roundabouts at busy T-junctions.”

Further “pensioner-friendly” recommendations in the report include installing more segregated slip roads leading to proper lanes on motorways and A-roads.

This would allow elderly drivers to join busy roads without having to look over their shoulder.

According to the report, white lines in the middle of roads should also be widened and a greater number of traffic lights installed at crossroads.

In addition, signs could be made more visible by attaching reflective backing, while the size of lettering on road markings could be increased.

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Elderly drivers should also be given eye tests from the age of 60 to reduce the risks of hazards associated with the loss of vision.

However, the report stopped short of recommending a reduction in the age at which older drivers have to renew their licence, which currently stands at 70.

In contrast, it said that drivers should have to apply for a new licence when they reach the age of 75.

Transport Minister Andrew Jones told the Times that the Government would now be looking at the report in greater detail.

He said the report “calls for action from a number of sectors, including government, and we will consider the recommendations carefully”.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists recently relaunched its Mature Drivers’ Assessment to give the elderly a chance to have their skills behind the wheel checked.

John Plowman, chairman of the task force, said: “People are living longer, healthier, more active lives, and driving longer.

“The number of drivers over 85 will double to one million by 2025, many without access to public transport.

“This influx of older drivers has important economic and social value but it also presents road safety risks if we don't adapt.

“Getting to grips with these risks, without limiting the independence and freedoms of the elderly is an important policy challenge.”

Copyright Press Association 2016. Motoring News articles do not reflect the RAC's views unless clearly stated.