Report shows surge in number of elderly driversBut those aged 30-49 use cars the most

20 April 2009

Older driver

There has been a surge in the number of elderly drivers

The number of elderly drivers on British roads has surged in the past ten years, according a report out this week.

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The RAC Foundation found that while younger people are increasingly choosing to travel by public transport, there has been rapid growth in car use among those aged 70 and above.

However, the study showed those aged 30-49 use their cars the most – getting behind the wheel for 69% of all trips taken.

Increased car use

Researchers said 70% of British adults now hold a driving licence, and that of the poorest 20% of households, almost half own at least one car.

The number of licensed cars has also grown by 30% over the past decade – from 22.7m to 29.6m – and car use now accounts for 8% of all trips under half a mile in length, 78% of all trips of two to three miles, and 80% of all trips of five miles and over.

The report's lead researcher, Dr Karen Lucas from Oxford University, said: ‘Our research suggests that most people cannot envisage a future without their cars and many would go to considerable lengths to continue using them.

‘The current policy debates about reducing car use, through road pricing and personal car allowances, do not fully consider the impact that this might have on people's lives, especially for those on low incomes or with limited options for alternative modes of travel.’

Efficient new cars

RAC Foundation director Stephen Glaister added: ‘There is no question of getting rid of cars. Instead we must change the type of cars we use - smaller, lighter, more with fewer cradle-to-grave CO2 emissions.’.


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