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Elderly Drivers: Advice & Rules of the Road

Feb 12, 2019

Road rules are there to protect all drivers, regardless of age. However, it is acknowledged that as drivers get older, there are some extra considerations that are good to be aware of.

Whilst many of these considerations typically apply regardless of age, following the high-profile news of Prince Philip’s crash at the age of 97, we thought it would be a good time to recap on some of these that may impact elderly drivers in particular.

At what age do driving licences expire?

Driving licences expire once a driver reaches the age of 70.

Therefore, if you want to keep driving past this point you will need to renew your licence. You will then be required to renew your driving licence every 3 years thereafter as well. Without a valid driving licence, you are not able to legally drive so it is important that you complete any necessary forms from the DVLA.

Reporting medical conditions

Make sure you report any medical conditions – you must report any new or existing medical conditions to the DVLA.

This is true at any age not just amongst older drivers and is a legal requirement. Not informing the DVLA of a medical or health condition can also affect your insurance policy if you are involved in an accident. Therefore, make sure you report any health conditions to your insurer as well.

Reporting health conditions won’t necessarily mean you are unable to drive any more or that your licence will be immediately revoked. Whilst this is up to the DVLA to decide, if a condition doesn’t affect your ability to drive safely or can be managed with some adaptations to your vehicle then you are likely to be able to retain your licence.

The DVLA list an A-Z of medical conditions so that you can check if you need to report a particular condition

Standards of vision for driving

Check your eyesight meets the standard of vision for driving – There are currently no legal requirements for eyesight tests aside from the initial eyesight check at the start of a driving test. The onus is on the driver so as with medical or health conditions, you must notify the DVLA of any changes to your eyesight.

The DVLA states that ‘You must tell DVLA if you’ve got any problem with your eyesight that affects both of your eyes, or the remaining eye if you only have one eye’

Make sure you know the minimum eyesight standards for driving.

Following Prince Philips crash the AA in particular have been keen to stress that age shouldn’t be the only decider in how long people keep driving for or that it is a reason to call for bans or restrictions on the ability of elderly people to drive. Instead they advocate that GP, family advice and acknowledging when it is no longer safe to drive is key. Whilst this can be a tough decision, it is important that you consider the safety of all road users .

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