Worries over elderly relative drivers

Rothwell Rollers Rothwell Rollers, a charity that provides a subsidised transport service for 100 disabled and elderly people in Rothwell, has been declined blue badges by Leeds City Council.'Pictured is driver  Wayne Hoyle from the charity  with service user Denis and his wife Mavis.'22 November 2012.  Picture Bruce Rollinson
Rothwell Rollers Rothwell Rollers, a charity that provides a subsidised transport service for 100 disabled and elderly people in Rothwell, has been declined blue badges by Leeds City Council.'Pictured is driver Wayne Hoyle from the charity with service user Denis and his wife Mavis.'22 November 2012. Picture Bruce Rollinson

The Insitute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling on the government to introduce a national strategy of driving health checks and better information for elderly drivers and their families.

The call comes after a poll showing that 42 per cent of the population are worried about an elderly relative driving, yet they are unlikely to do anything about it. Thirty-five per cent of drivers know a driver over 65 whose driving concerns them.

The IAM and Vision Critical poll of 1,297 people shows that while concern about elderly drivers is evident, acting on our concerns is another issue. Fifty-four per cent of those concerned did nothing about it (58 per cent in the rest of the UK).

When we do talk to our relatives about their driving it does not always go down well. Of those that had done this, 45 per cent were met with negative reaction.

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.”

The IAM wants:

A government action plan for older drivers

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, a figure that is set to increase to 5.8 million in 2032.