Drivers over 70 'should not be penalised' for running red lights or driving slowly

17 January 2022, 14:36

Should the over-70s be given driving assessments instead of penalties?
Should the over-70s be given driving assessments instead of penalties? Picture: Alamy
Alice Dear

By Alice Dear

They want to replace the £100 fine and three penalty points with an assessment to determine if they can still drive safely.

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Drivers over the age of 70 should not be penalised for running red lights, driving too slowly or going in the wrong motorway lane.

This is according to a Government-funded road safety report which wants to replace the fine and points with driving assessments instead.

If an OAP driver was to be caught breaking one of these rules today, they would receive a fine of £100 and have their license hit with three points.

However, for the over-70s, The Older Drivers Task Force are recommending that these penalties be replaced with an assessment of their driving skills to find out whether they are safe to be on the roads.

The Older Drivers Task Force's goal is to halve the number of car crash deaths in the over-70s age range by 2030
The Older Drivers Task Force's goal is to halve the number of car crash deaths in the over-70s age range by 2030. Picture: Getty

If this assessment finds someone unfit to be behind the wheel, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) could have their license taken away.

On the other hand, the DVLA may find that the assessment warrants the driver to undergo more lessons before they return to the roads – this would then be followed up in three months time.

The reports claims that rolling out the Fitness to Drive assessments across the nation would "reduce deaths and serious injurious among older drivers".

Their goal is to halve the number of car crash deaths in the over-70s age range by 2030.

They want to assessment to replace penalties when the elderly are caught running a red light, driving too slowly or going in the wrong motorway lane
They want to assessment to replace penalties when the elderly are caught running a red light, driving too slowly or going in the wrong motorway lane. Picture: Alamy

Steve Gooding, director of the RAC Foundation, said on the matter: “Allowing older drivers to remain mobile is critical to their mental and physical wellbeing, but so is safety.

“A system which helps people address their shortcomings rather than simply penalises them could help maintain this balance.”

He added: “But any encouragement we can all be given to reassess our ability to drive safely should be welcomed, not just after an incident but throughout our driving lives.”

The Older Drivers Task Force are also looking to recommend sight tests for people over the age of 70 when they renew their licenses.

Dr Suzy Charman, the executive director of Road Safety Foundation (RSF) who lead the task force, said: "We want to increase the pace of progress to ensure that we do not see the expected rise in the number of older drivers killed or seriously injured in road crashes.

“Key recommendations such as introducing mandatory eye tests at licence renewal at age 70 are considered essential and lifesaving.

“We hope the Department for Transport welcomes the report and can provide the leadership necessary to ensure these recommendations are taken forward."

She continues: “Not only will this make driving safer for older drivers, but it will also provide a legacy of safer roads for generations to come.”

The task force also want over-70s to have their sight tested during their license renewal
The task force also want over-70s to have their sight tested during their license renewal. Picture: Alamy

In response to the report and the recommendations, a spokesperson for the Department for Transport said: “Safety remains our top priority and we will continue to ensure we strike the right balance between keeping the roads safe and maintaining people’s personal mobility into old age.

“We keep all measures under review and will consider the wider outcomes of this report.”