Older drivers can maintain their independence longer with an assessment

Joan Collins put it best when she said “age is just a number. It’s totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine”. While it’s true that age can affect sight, hearing and reaction times, it doesn’t have to mean the end of your driving – driving should be judged on ability, not on age. With regular health checks, particularly for eyes and ears, there’s no reason older motorists shouldn’t keep driving safely for many years.

This week, October 2– 6, is Older Drivers Awareness Week. Transport for Buckinghamshire are promoting their Mature Driver Assessments which are available to book through the County Council website. Assessments cost £37 and involve a relaxed one hour drive in your own car with an approved driving instructor, on roads familiar to you. The purpose of the assessment is to help older drivers refresh their skills, regain some confidence, and ultimately help them keep driving safely for longer.

County Councillor Mark Shaw, Cabinet Member for Transportation, describes the assessments as “an MOT for the driver!”

Mark continued: “it’s just good sense to stay on top of your driving health, as you would with your eyes, ears, joints, heart and blood pressure. Driving assessments are just a great way of making sure you’re still driving safely. Assessors can’t remove a driver’s licence, it’s not a legal test – it’s just a chance to tune up your skills and ensure you retain a vital bit of independence for as long as you can”.

If you, or someone you know, could benefit from an older driver assessment you can book one through Transport for Buckinghamshire. Email roadsafety@buckscc.gov.uk, call the contact centre on 01296 382416, or search ‘book a driving assessment’ on the county council website, buckscc.gov.uk.

Older driver facts:

  • There are over 1.2million drivers aged 80 or over in the UK, and more than 90,000 of those are from the Greater London area
  • Over the age of 70, motorists need to renew licence every three years
  • Casualty rates increase for car drivers aged over about 65, and the fatality rate increases significantly
    (source: olderdriversforum.com)