Older drivers 'need health checks'

A road safety charity has called for the Government to create driving 'health checks' for elderly motorists after an octogenarian driver caused the death of an 18-month-old boy in Lancashire.

It is thought the 89-year-old fell ill at the wheel and lost control of the car, which mounted the pavement and hit the toddler and his mother.

Brake said the current system of self-assessments and licence renewals every three years for drivers older than 70 "isn't good enough" and called for an "annual 'fit to drive' health check carried out by a professional".

Cathy Keeler, Brake's deputy chief executive, said: "These checks should also be required every five years for drivers under the age of 70, as health can deteriorate at any age. More frequent checks are needed for older drivers as there are known health risks associated with ageing that directly affect driving ability, including loss of eyesight and hearing.

"Older drivers may also have health conditions or take medication that can impair driving. Drivers who have a high risk of heart attack or fainting fits must not be allowed behind the wheel."

The charity also wants ministers to impose a maximum driving age and introduce regular re-testing for all motorists.

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