IAM calls for elderly driver strategy

The IAM is calling for a national strategy of driving health checks and better information for elderly drivers and their families following a Vision Critical poll of 1,297 people. Vision Critical extrapolates that 42 per cent of the population is worried about an elderly relative driving, yet they are unlikely to do anything about it: 58 per cent of those concerned did nothing about it.

Part of the problem is that talking with relatives about their driving tends to be challenging. Of those that had done this, nearly half of respondents (47 per cent) were met with negative reaction. With an aging population in the UK, the IAM is calling on the UK government to formulate an action plan for older drivers. Suggested inclusions for this plan are:

  • Widespread availability of voluntary on road driving assessments
  • More car manufacturers considering older drivers in vehicle design
  • Better information and online assessment tools for older drivers, their families and health professionals
  • Road designs that make it easier for older drivers to keep driving

There are now more than four million drivers over 70 years old, and the IAM says that figure is set to increase to 5.8 million by 2032. European Union estimates suggest those aged over-65 will make up nearly a third of the continent’s population by 2050. Regular readers will have noted that Tyrepress coverage of issues surrounding ageing drivers has increased in recent times

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: “Talking to an elderly relative about their driving is a difficult conversation to have. Driving is associated with independence, so giving up the car keys can be a very stressful process. This is especially true for drivers with dementia as they often underestimate the impact of the condition on their driving skills.

“Voluntary online and on road driving assessments will provide an unbiased view and help everyone make the right decision at the right time.  We are finding while there are some elderly drivers who should not be on the road, most get it right and as many as 15 per cent give up too early.

“But with ever increasing numbers of elderly drivers, this is a growing mobility and road safety issue that won’t go away.  The government needs to act now.”

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