Too old to drive, who says?

Life expectancy has increased so both men and women are now expected to live to at least 80 years of age and many for longer. As some people get older, they remain fit and healthy, whereas many others have health problems. If you have an older relative or friend who is still driving are they too old to drive? How can you assess if they are likely to be a risk to themselves or others on the road? What should you do if you think they should not be on the road?

Age limits imposed by the DVLA

When you pass your driving test, you are issued a driving licence until you reach the age of 70. As long as you haven’t been  stopped from driving for other medical reasons before that age, you can continue driving. At the age of 70, you will be asked by the DVLA to renew your driving licence and complete a medical self-declaration form. You then need to renew your driving licence every three years. There is a continuing duty to notify the DVLA of relevant medical conditions.

Each time you renew your driving licence you do not need to do a driving test or have a medical. You do, however, need to complete the self-declaration form which includes answering a number of medical questions. You must fill in the form truthfully otherwise you will be committing an offence.

The questions are designed to ensure all drivers are fit and well enough to be out on the road. So there is no age limit on when you must stop driving but you must be able to satisfy the medical criteria.

Medical conditions which affect your driving

It is your duty to notify the DVLA of any medical condition which may affect safe driving.  Once you have informed the DVLA of your condition and provided consent, medical enquiries will be made as required.  The DVLA may be  unable to make a licence decision until all the available information has been considered.  Upon receipt of all the medical evidence, the DVLA will decide whether or not you can satisfy the national medical guidelines and the requirements of the law.  A licence will then be accordingly issued or revoked/refused.

There is a very long list of medical conditions which could affect your driving ability, these are some of the key ones that you need to declare.

  • Specified Visual Impairments
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Epilepsy
  • Heart conditions
  • Parkinson’s Disease
  • Dementia
  • Alzheimer’s

If you do not declare a medical condition that may  affect your driving, this is a criminal offence and it is also likely to result  in your insurance being voided if you have an accident.

If the DVLA refuse an application for a driving licence, a driver can apply for the case to be reviewed by DVLA if they have new, relevant information or they can appeal to the Magistrate’s Court. We have successfully represented many clients where we have served new information on the DVLA which has led to them reviewing their initial decision and granting a licence. Each case will turn on its own facts.

Assessing if you are still a good driver

Some older drivers tend to be more cautious drivers and have the experience that younger drivers don’t have. However, on the flip side, they can also pick up bad habits that can increase risk when driving. If you or an older relative want an objective assessment of driving ability then you can contact the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents. They  can refer you to course providers who carry out driving assessments for all ages, including older drivers. It is important to note that this is not a test, the assessors will give you an honest opinion, and you can reassure yourself you are safe to continue driving as long as you also comply with all other medical criteria.

What should you do if you have concerns about another person

It is often a difficult decision when you are concerned about  an older relative who you feel is unsafe to be on the road. Whilst worrying about taking away their independence you should also think about their own safety and that of other roads users and perhaps discuss the issue with other family members so you can support each other in suggesting now is the time to stop driving. If they will not voluntarily surrender their licence you could ring up their GP or DVLA to report your concerns.

If you have had your driving licence revoked or refused by the DVLA, then please contact us, and we will be able to advise and assist you as appropriate. You can call Moore Motoring Law on 0115 7841 588 or email maria@mooremotoringlaw.co.uk

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