Are older motorists a risk on the roads?

Published: 02/12/2014

A fifth of motorists over the age of 50 believe they would fail their driving tests if they were made to take it again, according to latest research by specialist insurance provider Rias. However does this inability mean a potential increase in road accidents? Personal injury solicitor Kevin Smith considers:

“Statistically speaking older drivers are amongst the safest on the roads; despite making up nine per cent of drivers, over 70s were only involved in 6 per cent of road accidents. Compare this to their younger counterparts – drivers under the age of 30 make up 20 per cent of road users but were responsible for 35 per cent of casualties - and you start to believe that experience is key!

“However with an ageing population I can’t help but wonder if we could soon start to see an increase in the number of road traffic accidents involving older drivers, particularly as one of the biggest contributing factors to road accidents is poor driver vision.

“There are nearly 3000 casualties as a result of defective eyesight every year. Worryingly 1.5million drivers have never had an eye test and 1 in 8 drivers have driven without glasses or lenses even when they knew they needed them.

“And it seems most drivers are in agreement that there should be regular, compulsory eye tests for drivers, particularly over a certain age. 77 per cent of 60-69-year-olds and 73 per cent of over 70s support the idea of mandatory eye tests.

“The bottom line is if there is something that can be done to minimise the risk of road traffic accidents then it would be foolish not to especially after hearing you can lose up to 40 per cent of your vision before you notice any difference.”

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