READER LETTER: Majority of older drivers are safer

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We constantly hear through the press and media in great detail when a senior citizen is involved in a serious road accident, but less so when younger groups of drivers cause serious accidents.These are not reported to the same degree. It does not seem fair that when an accident is caused by someone over 65years, the media coverage is quite intense. Accidents unfortunately happen whatever the age of the driver and as such all should be reported to the same extent. Any accident, whoever is to blame is a terrible thing, causing anger, heartache and recriminations. I have been driving for over 56 years without an accident. I put this down partly to luck but mainly to the way I was taught to drive and the ability to understand the concept of driving within my limits and the conditions around me. It used to be called ROAD CRAFT. That is to be able to read the road conditions and other road users and at all times be aware of your surroundings. Look ahead and always be prepared, also being considerate and courteous to other road uses helps. But most of all consider the safety and comfort of your passengers. This knowledge comes with time and experience. That is why the majority of older drivers are safer and more careful on the roads. We may be a little cautious at times but I do believe we drive more safely because of it. There are exceptions of course but surely this applies to all drivers of any age. There are over four million licensed drivers over 70 years of age at this time. Please do not tar us all with the same brush. The number of older drivers has been increasing steadily and this is expected to continue.

By the year 2030 more than 90 per cent of men over 70 years will be behind the wheel.

By the year 2035, the estimate is for 21 million older drivers on the roads.

As you can see with these predictions something has to be reformed to enable the older generation to require the relevant proof of their ability to drive with confidence and safety on our roads and in doing so put the general public at ease regarding the bias that seems to be directed at drivers over 65 years at the moment.

I have heard of a suggestion that at the age of 70 we should not be allowed to drive. This is quite wrong as this will deprive millions of safe drivers from enjoying their freedom they so richly deserve. May I suggest to overcome this attitude towards pensioners that at the age of 65/70 years they are required by law to have a full medical and eye test every year with the doctor/optician reporting any defects concerning their driving abilities directly to the DVLA. At what cost to the motorist you may ask? The cost of the tests would surely be recovered by the cheaper insurance given to this age group due to their responsible attitude.

I am the president of The Hucknall Men’s Probus Club, a group of men mainly over 70 years, with some in their late 80s who do drive with confidence and safety and would not be able to attend our meetings or outings, visit friends and enjoy a day out if they where penalised and not allowed to drive.

Some would be totally house bound, not a pleasant prospect.

We oldies are quite conscientious and wise in many things and that includes safe driving. How do you think we survived to this age?

Tony Bucknall

Hucknall