One million drivers are over 80 years old

A freedom of information request by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) has revealed that there are now more than one million drivers over 80 years old on UK roads.

That figure includes 66,000 drivers over 90 years old and, perhaps surprisingly, 122 active motorists over the age of 100.
The UK's oldest driver is a 106-year-old lady, although her identity has not been revealed.

The stats come just a couple of weeks after some road safety groups defended older drivers, saying they're often the victims of negative or excessive reporting when they're involved in accidents.

This feeds a general perception that older drivers are less safe than younger drivers - something that Adrian Walsh of road safety charity Roadsafe says is unfair.

"One thing is quite clear: older drivers take less risks," Mr Walsh told Autoblog.

And despite the accident risk rising "sharply by the 80s," according to the AA's Andrew Howard, "even then [older drivers] struggle to have a risk level challenging the youngest and fittest drivers," he said, quoted in our report published 1 February.

These new figures back Mr Howard up, showing that the rate of those involved in KSI accidents (killed or seriously injured) rises significantly at the '80 and over' category, but is still only one third that of the 17-19 age group, and significantly less than the 20-24 group too.

Per 1,000 licence holders in the 80 years and older category, 0.33 were involved in a KSI accident in 2010, while 0.98 in the 17-19 age group were, and 0.45 in the 20-24.

The safest are those in the 60-69 group, whose KSI rate was 0.09 per 1,000 licence holders. In fact, the rate keeps falling from 17 years old until hitting the 70-79 category, when it begins to rise again.

Simon Best of the IAM said: "Those who wish to continue driving beyond the age of 70 should only be prevented from doing so if there are compelling reasons.

"Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we should make them more aware of the risks they face, and offer them driving assessments to help them eliminate bad habits. Driving helps older people play a full and active part in society."
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