There are currently just over 5.1 million people in the UK aged 70 and over driving on our roads and the expectation is that this will double, if not treble, in the next 20 years as we all live longer. The oldest person who holds a driving licence is a male aged 107 years. Hampshire is shown as having the highest number of older drivers outside London.
We know that older motorists have a wealth of experience, confidence and tolerance. However, sight, hearing, reaction time and judgement of speed and distance may not be as sharp as it once was.
Fragility increases with age, so injuries tend to be more serious and recovery takes much longer. Casualty rates increase for car drivers aged over about 65, and the fatality rate increases significantly.
That’s where The Hampshire and Isle of Wight Older Drivers Forum comes in. It is all about keeping mature motorists on the road safely for longer. Whether that’s helping you by giving practical and informative help and support to continue driving, or pointing you in the right direction for an assessment to identify your driving needs – from wing mirror adapters to an elevated driving seat – we’re here to help.
The not-for-profit group is made up of experts in road safety from across Hampshire and the Isle of Wight – from representatives from the emergency services, to charities, local authorities and businesses specialising in keeping older people on the road.
Visit their website for more information.
From Monday 1 October to Friday 5 October 2018, and in support of Older Peoples Day (Oct 1) the forum is holding an Older Driver Awareness Week offering advice and tips that will help older drivers continue to drive safely or help them to decide when to stop. We will be visiting 5 different venues throughout the week:
- Monday, 1 October - Brockenhurst Village Hall, Highwood Road, Brockenhurst SO42 7RY
- Tuesday, 2 October - Haskins Garden Centre, West End, Southampton
- Wednesday, 3 October - Waterlooville Community Centre, 10 Maurepas Way, Waterlooville PO7 7AY
- Thursday, 4 October - Festival Place Shopping Centre, Basingstoke
- Friday, 5 October - St Thomas's Square and Newport Minister, Newport, Isle of Wight
The event is free to attend and open between 9.30am to 3pm. No appointment is required and people can pop in anytime during these hours. The events are aimed at anyone with an interest, from older drivers themselves, to friends and relatives.
Advice will be available on:
- brushing up your skills
- booking a driving assessment
- arranging a regular eyesight test
- getting advice on health and wellbeing issues that could affect driving ability
- renewing your licence at 70
- learning about road safety and consequences of not being fit to drive
- discover alternatives to being independent without a car
Safety is the top priority; it should be the most important thing older drivers consider when there is concern over driving ability. The best advice is don’t become complacent and wait for an accident or a near miss to convince a driver to stop, instead seek advice, support and help.
Research suggests that:
- Drivers under 70 are no more likely to be the cause of a crash than other driver. But once over 70, they are more likely to be at fault, particularly where right-of-way violations are involved
- Drivers over 85 are four times more likely to have caused a crash than to have been an innocent victim of one
- Drivers over 65 take 22% longer to identify a hazard and react to it. At 70mph that is two car lengths
- Drivers who do less than 2000 miles a year have an increased risk of collision
- However, age-related decline in mental and physical abilities, coupled with age-related frailty, can make older drivers more likely to be involved in a crash – and more vulnerable to serious injuries.
Let’s help Older Drivers to carry on Driving Safely for Longer