Call for more help for older motorists

Call for more help for older motorists

A road safety charity is urging the newly elected government to address the needs of older drivers.

The number of over-70s who hold a UK driving licence has reached 4.34 million - a rise of 320,000 or 11% in the past three years.

Now the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling for more action from ministers, assessment providers and medical professionals.

There is plenty of advice online on how older drivers can stay safe. But the IAM wants authorities to formally put more funding and thought into helping senior motorists continue driving.

It would like to see older motorists considered more when manufacturers design cars, and for voluntary on-road motoring tests to become more widely available. It is also calling for the government to devise an action strategy for senior drivers.

Older drivers in general are on the rise. The number of drivers over 80 has risen 10% to 1.17 million since 2012. The number of 90-something drivers has grown 16% in the same period.

An IAM study has revealed the most-common reasons for over-70s to be involved in accidents.

These included 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 were also recurring factors.

Nevertheless, the charity's own statistics suggest older motorists lead the way when it comes to safe driving. In 2011, it found the over-70s represented 9% of motorists but only 6% of motorist injury accidents.

The 30-something driving population, which constituted a fifth of all motorists, is involved in 35% of injury accidents. Whether young or old, motorists need to make sure they have good car insurance in place.

IAM CEO Sarah Sillars said it's important that older drivers can enjoy their driving for as long as possible. She called for a plan of action to help make this happen.

Copyright Press Association 2015