Sun. Jul 21st, 2024

Families of older drivers who could be unsafe behind the wheel have been told to say three things to encourage them to give up their driving licence. 

Motorists above the age of 70 do not require a medical test to renew their driving licence meaning those struggling behind the wheel could slip under the radar. 

Sergeant Rob Heard from Hampshire Constabulary and founder of the Older Drivers Forum said families must speak to older relatives if road safety comes into question.

However, he warns family members must identify three things when starting a difficult conversation to prevent a simple chat from turning into a feud.

Speaking to, he explained: “If you’re going to have that conversation with a loved one you need to identify the three Ws. Who, when and what.

“Who first in the family is the best person to speak to that person. It may not always be the most authoritative person as that may be the person who just gets their backs up. 

“It may be the person who has a better relationship where they will accept that situation. When is rather than just jumping in and saying ‘Dad you should be off the road’, it’s about timing it to have those conversations. 

“Maybe there’s something on television about a collision, maybe there’s a road safety programme, something like that where you can say ‘so how do you feel about your driving at the moment, as you age is it affecting you’. 

“Get it as a general conversation to get them starting to think about it. Prior to any of the conversations do some research. What can you say to them? Research the advice you’re going to give to them. 

“Maybe you’ve identified some local driving assessments or appraisals in the area that could help brush up their skills or evaluate if they are safe.

“And then maybe ask ‘when was the last time you had an eyesight test, what roads do you struggle with and what can we do to help you overcome them’.”

According to the RAC Foundation, around a quarter of all car drivers killed in 2022 were older drivers. A staggering 11 percent of all casualties in road collisions involved those above the age of 70. 

The Foundation also stressed there was an “increased casualty rate for those aged over 70 years old”. According to the group, this was particularly an issue for those aged over 80 years old. However, Mr Heard admitted that everyone is different and not everyone will need to give up their licence. 

He added: “We all age differently. Some people give up too early because of a lack of confidence, some continue beyond their abilities. There will be a time when we all have to retire from driving.

“We’ve got drivers out there in their 40s who are no longer fit to drive and we’ve got drivers in their 90s who are perfectly fit to drive.”

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