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Statistics show that five million motorists in the UK are over the age of 70. At the moment the law requires drivers over the age of 70 to renew their license every three years. The DVLA relies on drivers to declare any medical conditions that might affect their ability to drive safely. GPs are also legally obliged to inform the DVLA when they believe a patient is no longer fit to drive (see our guidance on public interest and confidentiality)
In the wake of several fatal accidents caused by elderly drivers, campaigners have called for changes in the law and suggestions include mandatory retesting for drivers over the age of 70, regular basic testing (such as for eyesight, hearing and reactions), mechanisms for reporting dementia, and even a ban on driving for anyone over 70.
However, as an ITV documentary (100 year old drivers: Rebooted) explores this month, driving can help older motorists to maintain their independence and contribute to their overall wellbeing. The DVLA also maintains that there is no evidence that elderly drivers are more likely to cause accidents.
What do you think? Are enough systems in place to ensure that elderly drivers are fit to be on the roads? Is it fair that the onus is on elderly drivers, their families and their doctors to recognise when they are no longer safe to drive, or should more be done by the DVLA?
GPs, do you often have to report elderly drivers to the DVLA? If so, is the criteria clear and the reporting process straightforward?
Take part in our poll and comment below to share your thoughts.