Half of Britons think older drivers should be banned from the road

Half of Britons think older drivers should be banned from the road

Many think mandatory driving tests should be introduced (Image: Getty Images)

Driving is perhaps one of the most contentious issues for Brits.

There has long been debate over whether the country’s elderly population should be forced to repeat tests to avoid accidents.

A new poll by and YouGov has found that almost half of Britons (49%) think older drivers should be banned from the road entirely.

And a staggering 69% think they should retake their driving test by a certain age.

The most common reason respondents felt older drivers should be banned or have their exam repeated was that “older drivers can’t react quickly enough”.

The majority felt that mandatory retesting should take place between the ages of 71 and 75.

Proponents of the more drastic age cap measures and total ban chose a much older age – 86-90 (10%) and over 90 (14%).

And younger people who took part in the survey, aged between 18 and 24, said retesting should be done much sooner.

Half of Britons think older drivers should be banned from the road

The majority think a mandatory test should take place between the ages of 71 and 75 (Image: Getty Images/Maskot)

More than 1 in 3 (37%) thought it should occur between the ages of 60 and 70, compared to just 13% of those over 55 who said the same.

The survey found that the British public “doesn’t trust older drivers on the road”, according to

They cited high-profile accidents like the Price Philip crash in January as the reason why distrust of older drivers has grown.

But organizations like IAM Roadsmart say that “older drivers are safer than young drivers”.

Neil Greig, director of policy and research at the road safety charity, said: “In reality, new drivers are the most vulnerable group and older drivers are among the safest.

“However, statistics show that drivers over 85 have more accidents when their skills wane and their experience is no longer sufficient to compensate.”

Teenage girl taking a driving lesson on a bright sunny day. Close-up of an instructor man writing on a clipboard and taking notes while sitting next to a teenage driver.

Younger people are still causing more accidents, activists have said (Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

Earlier, researchers at Monash University in Australia found “enormous” evidence that mandatory testing of older drivers is not making roads safer.

They said: “A study compared the safety impact of Finnish and Swedish permitting practices. Finland requires annual medical examinations for license renewal from the age of 70, while Sweden does not apply age-related checks.

“The Finnish program did not lead to fewer accidents than Sweden – but Finland was found to have a higher death rate among elderly pedestrians, presumably the result of an increase in the number of elderly people who rely on walking as their primary mode of transport. ‘

Some fear that with the growing loneliness of Britain’s aging population, losing access to a car could have serious mental health implications.

The debate on mandatory testing comes two weeks after it was revealed that the number of UK drivers over 100 has almost tripled in the last decade.

The number of fully licensed centenarians has reached 505 – up from 162 in 2012.

A report by the Older Drivers Task Force recently recommended raising the age at which a driver’s license must be renewed every three years from 70 to 75.

Spokesman John Plowman said: “Age in itself should not be a barrier to safe driving. But older drivers should be fit to drive and seek advice if a restrictive condition develops or worsens.”

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Justin Scacco

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