Should Drivers Over 70 Retake Their Driving Test?
What are the current rules surrounding older drivers? Do they need to retake their driving licence after they reach 70? The Rivervale guide to driving licence over 70 tells you everything you will need to update, what medical examinations you could potentially go through, and how to get your driving professionally assessed …
Last year, there was approximately 5.3 million drivers in the UK that held a full driving licence over 70, according to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), but how many drivers from that figure were involved in road traffic collisions?
In total, there were 11,245 people involved in traffic collisions where the driver was in that age group. As for UK's 2.8 million drivers aged 17 to 21, the rate was more than four times higher.
Breakdown of UK drivers by age group
There could be new regulations enforced upon older drivers in the future, according to the commons briefing. These could potentially include;
• The automatic requirement for drivers to notify the DVLA at the age of 70 of any medical condition that may affect safe driving should be raised to 75,
• DVLA should require evidence of an eyesight test at age 75 and encourage vision checks every two years, particularly from age 60; and
•The government should support an evaluation of driving appraisal courses offered by the public sector and those in the private sector who wish to participate.’
"Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys
Older drivers often self-restrict their driving by not driving at night and only driving on familiar roads ..."
- Edmund King, AA President
What happens when you reach 70 and your licence expires?
If you are 70 or over, and you are unsure about if you need to retake your driving test, the short answer to that is no. However, you will have to renew your driving licence and every three years after that. While you don't have to re-sit your driving test, applicants applying for a new driving licence will have to declare they are fit and healthy to drive and their eyesight meets the minimum requirements for driving through a self-assessment test. For those who want to continue driving a medium-sized vehicle or minibus, they will have to undergo a medical examination before their licence is renewed. Renewal is free of charge.
You will need to apply for the same vehicle categories covered on your previous licence, if you still want to drive them after you renew your licence. If you fail to do this, you'll only be allowed to drive a standard vehicle.
How do you renew your driving licence over 70?
The DVLA will send you a D46P application form 90 days before your 70th birthday which you can complete and return back to them. Alternatively, you can renew your licence online here using your Government Gateway ID.
Failure to do so will mean you will be deemed unqualified to drive, so be sure to start your application process as soon as possible, especially if you heavily rely on your vehicle to get you from A to B.
What if the DVLA forget to send my D46P application?
You will need to:
• Call the DVLA form ordering service on 0300 790 6801
• Order a D1 Form online or go to the Post Office and ask for a D1 form ‘Application for a Driving Licence
• Request a driving licence application form from the DVLA
Can I still drive while my new licence is being processed?
Yes, you are still able to drive on the road but only if you meet the following conditions:
• You’re not currently disqualified from driving
• You had a valid licence
• Your licence wasn’t revoked for medical reasons and your doctor says you are still ok to drive
You can find out more about whether you can continue to drive while your application is being reviewed by visiting gov.uk.
Monitor your health
All drivers, regardless of age, must inform DVLA if they have a medical condition that will most likely affect their ability to drive safely.
Some of the medical conditions that you must declare are:
• Heart conditions
• Parkinson's Disease
• Any condition that affects both eyes
• Problems using limbs in a way that will affect your ability to drive
Note: Just because you have a medical condition or disability, doesn’t mean DVLA will take away your driving licence - in fact, they might issue you with a new driving licence for 1, 2 or 3 years, depending on the severity of your medical condition or disability and how likely it is to affect your ability to drive safely.
If you do have a medical condition that's likely to affect your driving, you should make sure that you notify your insurer. you can see the full list of medical conditions and disabilities you must declare online via gov.uk.
How can I reassess my driving?
According to Government guidelines: "Safety and the safety og other road users are the most important things to consider. If you're concerned that your driving is not as good as it was and you may be putting yourself and other road users at risk."
If you are uncertain whether you meet the standards to drive safely on the road because of your medical condition or disability, then you can either get assessed via a local driver assessment scheme or via a mobility centre.
The mobility centre assessment involves:
• A physical assessment to check if you can handle the a car's controls
• A cognitive assessment to check your thinking skills
• A visual assessment to check if your eyesight meets the required standards
• An on-road assessment in a dual-controlled car
Here are the following signs to look out for when deciding if you are no longer "fit and proper" to drive safely on the road:
• Slower reaction times
• Difficulty in turning to see when reversing
• Keeping a foot on the brake
• Other drivers their horns at you
• Incorrect signals
• Hitting the kerb
• Difficulty making turns
• Confusion at exits
• Over-revving the engine
• Difficulties with low light or night time driving
• Avoidance of driving to new or unfamiliar places
• Scrapes and dents in your car
We advise that if you experience any of these signs, then you should talk to a GP or health professional.
Of course an official decision surrounding drivers over 70 and whether they should retake their driving test remains to be decided, but with manufacturers moving towards driverless/autopilot vehicles, it means this issue could eventually become redundant.
Should drivers over 70 retake their driving test?
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