Skip to content

Vintage drivers on the rise on UK roads

A study by the RAC Foundation has revealed that there are 191 drivers over the age of 100 on Britain's roads. According to the research, the oldest licence holder is a 107 year old lady, while the oldest man is a sprightly 106.

 A study by the RAC Foundation has revealed that there are 191 drivers over the age of 100 on Britain's roads. According to the research, the oldest licence holder is a 107 year old lady, while the oldest man is a sprightly 106. The study also highlighted the general growth in numbers of older drivers, with those over 70 surpassing four million for the first time since records began. Ageing drivers can be a thorny subject, with many people having the suspicion that some are not fit enough to drive. Research in Australia and the USA suggests that around 10% of such drivers are not safe to drive but, on the other hand, roughly one third give up driving too early, when they are still fit enough to drive safely.

The law in the UK places the onus of that decision squarely on the driver's shoulders. Once they reach 70, each driver must declare whether or not they are fit to drive and then do so again at three year intervals. Such drivers are not, however, required to retake their driving test or have any medical examination to support their fitness to drive. Director of the RAC Foundation, Professor Stephen Glaister, suggests that every driver should consider their fitness to drive at regular intervals but accepts that the issue becomes more pressing when we reach 70 years of age.

Professor Glaister said: "In general, older drivers have an enviable safety record, but it is clear that faced with this critical yes-or-no decision, many motorists simply do not have a realistic view of their capabilities. For those reliant on a car, giving up driving will have a huge impact on their ability to live an active life, so it is important that they get all the help and support to make the right decision at the right time."

The RAC Foundation study looked at data from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), which revealed that 4,018,900 drivers over 70 had a driving licence. That is up from 3.9 million from last year. With current population trends that figure is set to continue to rise, with the government predicting that 17% of people alive today will live to 100 or more. A spokesman for the DVLA commented: "Drivers should tell the DVLA about any conditions which might affect their driving. Most older drivers are aware of their limitations and manage their driving accordingly."

Posted by on

Back to September 2013

Back to top