100-year-old man clocks up a million miles - is it safe?

AT4PMT retired person driving motor car. Image shot 2008. Exact date unknown.

Dennis Garratt, a 100-year-old RAF veteran from Uppingham in Rutland, is celebrating having driven an impressive total of one million miles. He still drives regularly, and has never had an accident.

So should he, and others of his age, be allowed to keep driving?
He told the Daily Mail that he first started driving during the Second World War, and he still regularly takes his car to the shops. In all that time he has never had an accident.

He said that he has fast reactions and is a confident driver, so is completely safe. He was dismissive of suggestions that older people should have to sit tests or give up their licence as they get older.
It was younger drivers who worried him - because they are in so much of a hurry.

During his birthday celebrations in November he told the Stamford Mercury that his driving licence had been renewed, so he will be legal to drive until he is at least 103.

Older drivers?

There are currently 191 people over the age of 100 who are legally allowed to drive on the road in the UK. The oldest licence-holder is a 107-year-old woman.

The rules mean that it is up to older drivers (over the age of 70) to self-certify that they are still capable behind the wheel. They have to do this at 70 and then again every three years after that. It is left up to them to decide whether they are still safe to drive.

Is it safe?

Clearly Garratt is not posing a risk to anyone, and it's clear that his car is a vital lifeline. Statistically he's a safer driver than someone in their youth. People over the age of 70 are statistically far safer than those under the age of 30: they make up 9% of drivers but only 6% of driver casualties, while drivers under 30 make up 20% of drivers but 35% of casualties.

However, there are plenty of people who are unhappy with people driving as they get older. A survey by Autotrader in May last year found that three in five motorists thought that once drivers hit the age of 66 they should be made to sit their driving test again, while 73% of them are worried whenever they are following an older person on the road.

Some 65% of Brits believe older drivers should be subject to medical checks, such as regular sight and coordination tests, while 30% think Government should reduce the number of points older drivers are allowed before their licence is revoked.

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