After passing your driving test, driving laws change and you develop bad driving habits and some older drivers can be a menace of the road, so should older drivers be retested?
After hearing on my local radio this morning suggesting that older drivers, over 70, should take advanced driving tests or be rested to reduce accidents I think this in part an excellent idea. With reports of a 60% rise in accidents of drivers over 65 anything that can be done to reduce accidents and keep everybody safer and driving competently for longer has to be a good idea. So should older drivers be retested?
As we get older our reaction skills, reflexes, hearing and eyesight have a tendency to decline making something like driving very dangerous as all these skills are required. That’s not to say that all older drivers are a menace on the road and should be immediately banned.
So should older drivers be retested? I think there should be compulsory refresher tests every two years for drivers over 70. But I do also believe that there should also be a compulsory retest every five years or so for every driver under the age of 70 purely to weed out bad habits, refresh the drivers knowledge of the rules of the road and so that drivers are always aware of any updates to driving laws as these do tend to change. At the very least ALL drivers licenses should need to be renewed every few years and have a compulsory sight and hearing test before a new license is issued.
As there is no legal limit to when you can stop driving, you may have passed your test 60 years ago in a very different time so what you learned then is very different to driving on today’s modern roads plus for most people, as much as we try to deny it, our health will decline and we probably need someone else to make the decision to stop driving rather that deciding for ourselves if we are still capable of driving or not. Currently the law states that you once you reach 70 you must renew your license every 3 years but no retest is required.
It may be time to give up driving if:
- your reactions are noticeably slower than they used to be
- you find traffic conditions increasingly stressful
- your eyesight is getting worse
- you have a medical condition that may affect your ability to drive safely – ask your GP for advice
So do I personally think that older drivers should be retested? YES! But I also believe that ALL DRIVERS should be retested as no one is exempt from bad habits, medical conditions, bad driving or just plain ignorance of the rules of the road. Everyone should be able to drive until as long as they want or their health allows and some kind of retest at every license renewal would hopefully make all drivers a lot safer.
If you are interested in an Advanced Driving Test, no matter what age driver you are, visit www.iam.org.uk.