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Driving over 70

30 Mar 2016 at 11:53

Many older drivers over the age of 70 enjoy the freedom a car brings, but are uncertain and sometimes concerned about whether they need to renew their driving licence or get a refresher driving course. RAC Car Insurance has put together a ‘Driving Over 70’ guide which details everything older drivers need to know to ensure they can continue to drive safely and independently.

Older Driver Statistics

In 2011, the over-70s made up nine per cent of all UK drivers but only accounted for six per cent of driver casualties. In contrast drivers under 30 made up 20 per cent of drivers but 35 per cent of casualties.

For over-70s, accident reports are more likely to mention factors associated with declining physical and cognitive health such as: a failure to gauge another driver's speed or direction; disability or sickness; losing control; and bad manoeuvres or turn-ins. Nervousness, stress, panic and the dazzling sun are also recurring factors.

Even though there are a number of factors that may only affect older drivers, they are still some of the safest drivers on the road.

Renew Driving Licence at 70

When you reach the age of 70, your car driving licence expires. If you wish to continue driving you will need to renew your licence, and then every three years thereafter. When renewing you can change your licence photo at the same time and you should receive your licence within one week, if you apply online.

Renewing your licence with DVLA is easy to do online and is free of charge.

If you apply online

If you want to renew your licence online you will first need:

  • an email address
  • addresses of where you have lived for the last three years
  • your National Insurance number
  • a valid UK passport number (if you want to change the licence photo)

What you need to know

The easiest way to renew is using your Government Gateway ID. If you don’t have one or need to re-register, you will receive an ID as part of your application.

If you are already 70 or over (or soon will be) you can apply if:

  • your British licence has expired – or it’s going to expire within 90 days
  • you’re a resident of Great Britain (different rules apply in Northern Ireland)
  • you meet the minimum eyesight safety requirement
  • you aren’t prevented from driving for any reason

Once you have completed the renewal process the DVLA will send you a confirmation email on receiving your application.

Driving while DVLA processes your licence

If you send your application to DVLA to be renewed and your licence runs out whilst it is being processed, you can continue to drive if you meet all the following conditions:

  • you have the support of your doctor to continue driving
  • you had a valid licence
  • you only drive under the conditions of the previous licence
  • your application is less than a year old
  • your last licence wasn’t revoked or refused for medical reasons
  • you’re not currently disqualified
  • you weren’t disqualified as a high risk offender on or after 1 June 2013

Refresher Driving Lessons for Older Drivers

If at any time you would like to refresh your driving skills, there a number of organisations that can help you do so. Both the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) provide objective driving assessments and courses.

These assessments last approximately one hour and are conducted by an experienced assessor in your own car. Once the assessment is complete you will receive a report reviewing your driving ability and offering practical suggestions on how best to improve your driving skills.

Find further information on RAC car insurance or speak to one of our RAC advisers on 0330 159 1019 to get a quote.