Over-70s face driving curfew and travel area limits under new licence plans

Traffic flows along the M56 motorway as the sun sets near Manchester, northern England February 15, 2016  REUTERS/Phil Noble
Traffic flows along the M56 motorway as the sun sets near Manchester, northern England. (Reuters)

Drivers who are over the age of 70 who suffer from poor health could be allowed to continue driving if they abide by a nighttime ban and stick to their local area.

The new proposals are being discussed by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) and Driving Mobility, according to the Sunday Times.

The newspaper reports that the talks come as data shows an increase in the number of over-70s driving on the road, doubling in the last 25 years.

Under the current system, licences expire when a driver turns 70.

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The driver must then inform DVLA of any medical conditions like diabetes, dementia, Parkinson’s or epilepsy as well as any condition that affects the eyes in order to keep driving.

The new proposals would allow over-70s with ill health to be eligible for a “graduate driving licence” which could restrict them to a 20 to 30 mile-radius from home, according to the Sunday Times.

The scheme could also reportedly ban them from driving after dark.

Edward Trewhella, chief executive of Driving Mobility, told the newspaper: “A lot of older drivers stick within their own locality — they go to the shop, the doctor’s surgery, go and see a granddaughter down the road, probably on minor roads with which they are familiar.”

He said the new scheme would “regularise” these driving habits, making it legal for them to do so as long as they stay within their local area.

“That would mean that they were driving safely within their familiar environment,” he said.

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A recent pilot scheme in Hampshire, where elderly drivers involved in a car accident could opt for a fitness-to-drive test rather than prosecution, found that 30% had not notified the DVLA of their health conditions.

Edmund King, president of the AA told the Sunday Times that rather than introducing restrictions on over-70s, medical professionals should be flagging motorists who are not fit to drive.

He said: “They are there to save lives and what better way to save lives than to prevent someone who you know is capable of killing through their own medical condition.”

Yahoo News has contacted the Department for Transport and the AA for comment.