More than half of all young motorists reckon drivers should have to resist their test once they hit 60 years of age, a new poll shows. Sixty per cent of car users aged 18 – 34 questioned said they felt road safety in the UK would be improved if older motorists had to periodically take a mandatory refresher exam.
They come as 97-year-old Prince Philip apologised for a crash in which he admits he pulled his Land Rover out in front of another vehicle near the Queen’s Sandringham estate in Norfolk. In a letter to an occupant of the other car, he said the sun blocked his view – although witnesses have described it as being a cloudy day. Across all age groups, 35 per cent said such a mature driver test should be introduced.
At present, drivers are required to renew their licence at 70 – and every three years afterwards – but they do not have to prove their continuing fitness behind the wheel.
But the findings — from a survey of 1,200 motorists commissioned by Select Car Leasing — could further fuel debate about more rigorous checks for mature drivers.
Royal sources have expressed concern he remains regularly behind the wheel given his advancing years.
The survey also comes as it was revealed that traffic deaths in Japan in 2018 had fallen to the lowest annual rate in the country’s history – a decline which police said was due in part to stringent new tests for over-75s renewing their licences.
But Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said it would be premature to force senior drivers to face renewal exams, and may be discriminatory.
“Rules around this have already been tightened with doctors in the UK granted greater power to intervene if they believe patients are a threat to other road-users in the UK,” he said. “That is proportionate.”
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Government officials have ruled out further action for now out of fears it would result in many retired people giving up their cars prematurely.
A Department for Transport report in November found even requiring those over 70 to take new eyesight tests could lead many to stay off the roads altogether.
It was suggested this would reduce freedom and impact on health.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the survey – conducted by OnePoll – found only six per cent of drivers already over 65 agreed with the introduction of new mandatory tests