UK road safety charity Brake is calling for annual ‘fit to drive’ health tests for the over 70s.
The demand from Brake for ‘controls’ on older drivers comes following the death of an 18 month old boy, killed on the pavement by an 89 year old driver in Accrington, Lancashire, last week.
It is thought the driver lost control of his car after he became ill at the wheel.
Current law ‘not good enough’
Currently the law only requires the over-70s to renew their licence and complete a self-assessment form declaring themselves safe to drive every three years.
According to Brake deputy chief executive Cathy Keeler, this isn’t good enough, and over-70s should be forced to take ‘an annual fit-to-drive health check carried out by a professional’.
In fact, Brake feels more concern should be taken over driver health generally.
Health testing every five-years for the under-70s
Keeler says: ‘These checks should also be required every five years for drivers under the age of 70, as health can deteriorate at any age. More frequent checks are needed for older drivers as there are known health risks associated with ageing that directly affect driving ability.’
These include loss of eyesight and hearing, as well as heart conditions and medication that may impair driving.
‘Drivers who have a high risk of heart attack or fainting fits must not be allowed behind the wheel,’ says Keeler.
Maximum driving age?
Going even further, Brake is calling for a government consultation to consider a maximum driving age and regular re-testing, in addition to the above measures.
A fact sheet on older drivers is available on the Brake website.
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