Elderly motorists could avoid fines for careless driving, but would need eyesight tests

Elderly drivers: Confused.com put OAPs to the test

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Motorists aged 70 and above who are caught accidentally running a red light or unnecessarily slow driving should have their skills assessed instead, they said, rather than facing hefty fines or prosecution. The report from the Older Drivers Task Force made a number of “lifesaving” recommendations to the Government as to how it can keep elderly people behind the wheel for longer.

One of the recommendations was for mandatory sight tests for drivers over 70 who were applying for licence renewals.

They said the DVLA should require evidence of an eyesight test at age 75, and the DVLA, insurers and others should encourage vision checks every two years, particularly from age 60.

These suggestions have been brought forward to try and reduce the number of incidents on the road.

The ODTF said: “There is as yet no general ‘marker’ providing warning that an individual may not be fit to drive.

“Poor eyesight is a high-risk medical condition associated with driving. Eyesight deteriorates with age and the Government offers free eyesight tests to those over 60.

“There is evidence that when the Police offer driving assessments as an alternative to prosecution nearly 70 percent of those assessed require eyesight correction.

“More frequent eye tests would have significant wider health benefits for older people.”

They also recommend raising the mandatory self declaration age to 75, rather than the current age of 70 years old.

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Drivers over 70 currently need to notify the DVLA of any medical condition that may affect safe driving.

Recent research recommended that drivers should have a vision check every five years and every two years for motorists over 60.

In Hampshire, those who opt for a referral course as an alternative to prosecution for careless driving after a crash need to have an eyesight test beforehand.

Of those, just under 70 percent had eyesight deficiencies, and even if these were not a direct contributory factor to the crash, they may well have been indicators of some other problem which did directly contribute to the crash.

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