to think that those over 70 should be subject to some kind of test when they renew their driving licence?

(86 Posts)
MrsSchadenfreude Thu 09-May-13 22:21:24

Even if it's just an eyesight test? I have spent the past week in the company of my mother and one of her friends, both 80, and both absolutely atrocious drivers. My mother has a cataract in one eye and cannot see properly. Despite this, she drives everywhere too fast, in the wrong gear, goes through red lights, forgets she is in reverse and shoots backwards into bollards and other people's cars, and stalls the car all the time when she stops and starts again. She drives too close to the side of the road and keeps clipping the kerb or mounting it. The 30 mile an hour speed limit through the village does not apply to her, it is "silly" to have to drive so slowly. I have told her that she should not be driving until she has her cataract fixed, and is probably not insured to drive until it is done. Her response was "Oh I never drive very far."

Her friend is the opposite - very nervous and very slow. She drove me to the station (about 2 miles), and we didn't get out of second gear or above 20 mph all the way there. She stops at traffic lights when they are green "because they might change suddenly".

I spoke to my Mum's doctor informally a couple of years ago about my concerns, but she was more concerned with my mother keeping her independence than her danger to other road users, and just said "oh she shouldn't really be driving while she's waiting to get her cataracts done", but didn't come right out and tell my mother not to drive until after the operation.

AIBU to think that they are an accident waiting to happen? (And don't get me started on her friends' attitude to drinking and driving - "Oh it's only white wine, and I haven't got far to go." Yes, it is white wine, and you are on your second bottle...)

Lovelygoldboots Thu 09-May-13 22:30:15

I feel for you about your mum but I think yabu. When a person reaches 70 they don't suddenly become bad drivers.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 09-May-13 22:30:56

YABU and ageist. Is 70 some magic cut off point??

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 09-May-13 22:31:23

ALL drivers should be retested yearly. That would lower the accident rate.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 09-May-13 22:32:03

AND your Mother's friend's attitude to drinking and driving is irrelevant...another thread.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 09-May-13 22:33:13

OK, I only said 70 because that is when your licence expires, and you have to renew it every 3 years. At the moment you just need to tick boxes to say that you can see - could the doctor not do a quick eye test to confirm this?

Boomba Thu 09-May-13 22:33:52 cant justify aint happening. Maybe every 5 years, for everyone?

I dont think you are more likely to drink and drive, once you are over 70 confused

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 09-May-13 22:34:06

Yes...for everyone! Younger people have eye troubles and other health related issues which could affect them!

Sparklingbrook Thu 09-May-13 22:34:59

I would be in favour of this. All the 70+ drivers who are fine at driving and seeing would pass no problem and therefore have nothing to worry about.

NeoMaxiZoomDweebie Thu 09-May-13 22:35:01

I mean...once you get past 40, you begin to fall apart generally anyway...40 would be a better cut off...(I am 40 so I can say that) and those UNDER 40 should be retested for general youth related foolishness growth.

Boomba Thu 09-May-13 22:35:43


MrsSchadenfreude Thu 09-May-13 22:37:21

But your eyesight and health do tend to deteriorate as you get older, so more justification to test eyesight post 70/80, rather than say, 30/40. But they could insist on an eye test for everyone when they change their photo every ten years. That might work.

MrsBungle Thu 09-May-13 22:38:02

I think everyone should have to be tested in some way every so often.

specialsubject Thu 09-May-13 22:41:54

Your mother and her friend are arrogant and irresponsible, and I can't see their age being relevant.

You need to tell her how it is. If she won't listen, you need to threaten to report her to the police for unsafe driving. And carry it through. It may also be possible to get the GP to contact the DVLA.

the drunk needs to be told that if she leaves to drive drunk, you WILL call the police. And again carry it through.

the person they kill may not be themselves.

MrsSchadenfreude Thu 09-May-13 22:44:15

I think age is relevant, certainly in my mother's case. Her driving used to be perfectly OK - it's only recently (in the last 6 or 7 years) that it has really deteriorated.

CherylTrole Thu 09-May-13 22:46:05

YANBU This is one of the first issues I will tackle when I step into Dave Camerons job grin

CloudsAndTrees Thu 09-May-13 22:47:46


Lindyhopper29 Thu 09-May-13 22:50:57

Totally agree if the driving of my 84yo mother is anything to go by. She says, "I have macular degeneration in one eye and a cataract in the other but I'm still ok to drive." Oh yeh

maddening Thu 09-May-13 22:53:26

yanbu - health deterioration can be so swift at this age - eg eye sight, physically less able to turn the neck, less able to respond as quickly etc.

Everyone will age at different rates - some will be fine others not so - and it may not be so noticeable to the person themselves

andubelievedthat Thu 09-May-13 22:59:48

agree in principle but it all comes down to money/votes>>me ?old and thinking my health is so shit I may give up (for the public good ) feeling better already !

scaevola Thu 09-May-13 23:06:36

I wouldn't do this.

If you look at insurance premiums, which really do mark out in cold hard financial terms which groups have the most accidents, it's not the over 70s.

Knowing a couple of fruitcakes who have displayed instances of bad driving doesn't really stack up against whatever the evidence is that insurance sharks companies use. And of course could be just as true of individuals in other age groups too (my DB for example is a truly atrocious driver, but nowhere near 70).

CherylTrole Thu 09-May-13 23:06:52

Will these stubborn elderly drivers keep being selfish and putting other peoples lives at risk when they get behind the wheel?

Eve Thu 09-May-13 23:09:20


I live in a twn with an elderly population. I see some shocking driving most days!

Jan49 Thu 09-May-13 23:25:57


I think they should be tested regularly because people's eyesight and health deteriorate. Though ideally I think everyone who drives ought to be retested at regular intervals.

RustyBear Thu 09-May-13 23:43:23

Actually, according to my optician, most people's eyesight starts to change after they are 40, so that's the logical age at which to start imposing eye tests if you're going to pick one...

i think every one should be tested regularly. anyone can be an awful driver whatever their age. there are some shocking younger ones about.

maybe every 2-5 years depending on tickets/speeding/points etc etc

Lovecat Thu 09-May-13 23:54:20

YANBU - my Dad's driving deteriorated horribly in his late 60's/mid 70's (he had his licence revoked when he was 77 due to alzheimers).

He had been a very good, if impatient driver before then and part of the trouble was that my parents downsized their car when he retired - the little car they got had none of the poke of his previous cars, but he still drove like it did and thought his reactions were as sharp. I still have nightmares about sitting in the passenger seat with him pulling out in front of people far too slowly and far too late because he just couldn't judge it properly anymore. It was a blessed relief when he lost his licence, tbh.

ElectricSheep Fri 10-May-13 00:00:05

Yeah, and how much would regular retests/eye tests etc cost?

Just another barrier to those who are financially suffering to taking a full part in society, not to mention their ability to get work for some.

Bad idea imho.

Viviennemary Fri 10-May-13 00:02:24

I think a lot of people on the roads should be subjected to some kind of test. Some of them are totally dangerous. Not just the over 70's.

Bozzle Fri 10-May-13 00:11:46

My grandfather is 93, he has only just stopped driving. That was only because a few minths go he ,while coming back from lunch, turned right across a lane and didn't see the cyclist. He hit the side door. Cyclist was very badly injured and was airlifted to hospital. Even after this my grandfather can't see the problem - blamed everyone but himself. He has mild Parkinson's and can hardly write his name and yet the consultant signed him off as ok to drive!! He was always hitting wing mirrors. I find it unbelievable that no tests are done again after passing your driving test. Driving is a privilege not a right.

olgaga Fri 10-May-13 00:13:35

Yes, it's a worry. But I think if you brought in regular re-testing you'd just end up with a lot more unlicensed drivers.

If anyone should have regular re-testing, it should be younger men, who are responsible for far more traffic accidents per mile driven than any other age group.

Soon we'll all have to work until we're at least 70, so look out for all those elderly white van men!

ComposHat Fri 10-May-13 00:22:56

YANBU . I was recently hit by a bewildered pensioner who claimed that she's run into me as the lights had changed (there were no traffic lights, she'd just pulled out of a T-junction without looking) and couldn't remember her own postcode, telephone number or who she was insured with. There was no way she should have been out without a carer, let alone left in control of a deadly weapon.

It was unharmed, but if there had been someone in the back, I dread to think what state they would have been in.

It tells its own tale that insurance premiums start to rise after a certain age. There is an irreversible decline in both mental and physical capacity in most people (I know your brain starts to die at 20 or so, but there needs to be a cut off point somewhere)

I also know that there is a bigger problem with young drivers (who often cause catastrophic accidents) but they can be tackled by education (training/experience) or by punishment (fines/points/bans) but you can't with older people whose dangerous driving is down to physical or mental decline, so they need to be tackled differently.

I'd propose that after 70, whereas at the moment you just write off for a new licence, you should be required to go to your doctor and get a certificate showing that you are still physically and mentally able to drive a car. This should be followed by a short driving session in the company of an instructor/examiner (far less rigorous than a normal driving test, but just to see that you can still control the car safely in traffic.

Hopefully that would strike a balance between letting people who were able to keep driving and keeping everyone else safe from those who are unfit to drive.

sashh Fri 10-May-13 01:07:31

Yeah, and how much would regular retests/eye tests etc cost?

Well they are free for the over 65 (maybe 60) and you should be having an annual test by then anyway

exexpat Fri 10-May-13 01:25:59

Drivers over 70 are more likely to have accidents, and more likely to die in them, according to lots of research, eg this report.

I think mandatory testing of eyesight and some basic driving safety things like reaction times and ability to judge speed/distance would be a very good idea. And I say that as someone with parents in their mid-70s living somewhere where they are totally car dependent (no public transport, no local shops etc). My father has not been able to drive for a decade since he was seriously ill (now a wheelchair user).

My mother went back to driving after a minor stroke a few years ago, but is currently unable to drive after another stroke and a recent cataract operation. She really, really wants to go back to driving, because at the moment they depend on me/friends/taxis to go everywhere, but I really, really don't think she should. It all depends on her next eye test, but what that doesn't measure is her much slower reactions these days, her weaker legs (arthritis) meaning emergency braking would be slower, and more generally the fact that she is increasingly nervous, hesitant at roundabouts, less observant of what is going on around her and so on. Last time I was in the car when she drove, about six months ago, I really didn't feel very safe in the car.

I don't want her to lose her independence, but I also don't want her to kill herself or anyone else.

Highlander Fri 10-May-13 07:49:38

scaevola, elderly people are less likely to make an insurance claim. They tend to hav the means to pay for their own car repairs. Their crashes also tend to happen at lower speeds, resulting in less catastrophic car damage. The lower speeds mean that they are more likely to be in urban areas, with more pedestrian involvement.

Young (<25 yrs) tend to have high speed impacts.

Dahlen Fri 10-May-13 07:57:18

I think it would be patronising to make people sit their driving tests again related solely to age, but I would like to see 5-yearly tests for drivers that include testing eyesight, hazard perception and reaction times.

Tanith Fri 10-May-13 08:05:45

We've had this with my SFIL. Cataracts, Alzheimer's and delayed reaction times, yet arrogantly

cory Fri 10-May-13 08:07:19

ElectricSheep Fri 10-May-13 00:00:05
"Yeah, and how much would regular retests/eye tests etc cost?

Just another barrier to those who are financially suffering to taking a full part in society, not to mention their ability to get work for some."

That's evidently how my FIL's doctor felt when he took FIL's word for it that he was fine to drive though he must have known that he was almost blind.

What didn't occur to either of them was that if FIL went into another car one day instead of a field (which he mistook for his turning), then that might be somebody else who would never take any kind of part in society- because they would be dead.

In the end, MIL put her foot down. By that time, FIL was so visually impaired as to be a danger in his own kitchen, let alone on the road.

Dh's elderly friend went on driving despite nearly causing several serious accidents. Again, everybody who knew her knew she was visually impaired, but all the GP asked was "are you fit to drive?", to which she blithely answered yes. She never realised quite how dangerous she was, because she couldn't see the near accidents she caused.

olgaga Fri 10-May-13 08:53:53

A report by the Institute of Advanced Motorists found that while some drivers experience a decrease in cognitive skills over 70, it also found:

The youngest and most inexperienced drivers are involved in the highest number of injury crashes.

As these young drivers gain more experience, the numbers involved in injury crashes decline moderately through their 20s and 30s.

The decline accelerates over the age of 40, with driving experience and a mature attitude to safety.

Older drivers are safer than young drivers - just 8 per cent are over 70 and they are involved in around 4 per cent of injury crashes; 15 per cent of drivers are in their teens and twenties, but are involved in 34 per cent of injury crashes.

Older drivers have the fewest number of casualties per driver but age-related frailty makes them much more likely to be killed or seriously injured.

They are more likely to drive older cars which offer less protection to the occupants.

Drivers over 85 are four times more likely to have caused a crash than to have been an innocent victim of one

You can read the full report here - it's very interesting.

The RAC report Driving Choices for the Older Motorist points out:

There is a considerable body of research into the safety of older drivers. If collision rates are calculated on a per-licensed-driver basis, older drivers up to the age of 80 have collision rates that are comparable to those of middle-aged drivers. However, the increased frailty of older drivers means that they are more likely to be killed or injured in a collision than their younger counterparts.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister says:

We are unlikely to see re-testing at 70 because, despite the myths, older drivers are no less safe than other age groups. Re-testing in this way could also contravene recently-passed equality legislation.

IloveJudgeJudy Fri 10-May-13 09:18:41

I would highly recommend them taking an institute of advanced motorists course. DM has done one and it's transformed her driving. She's better now and more confident than she's ever been.

NUFC69 Fri 10-May-13 09:57:05

To be honest, most unsafe drivers I see are younger people who quite often drive too fast, are too impatient, etc. A neighbour lost her life when a 17 yo newly qualified driver decided to answer a text on her mobile phone. There are very few elderly drivers who will be texting or talking on their phones whilst they are driving, I guess. My point is that there are stupid people of all ages about.

NinaHeart Fri 10-May-13 10:15:42

YABU Ageist. Young drives are statistically more liely to have an accident.
And also, with the raising of the retirement age, people of roughly this age are deemed fit enough to work but not to have the means to get there?

NinaHeart Fri 10-May-13 10:16:19


Sparklingbrook Fri 10-May-13 10:20:25

Maybe an optional refresher course. i have been driving for years but parallel parking wasn't even in the test nor a theory test. My Mum passed her test in 1957, I have no idea what that test was like.

Some of the older generation around these parts drive dangerously slowly. sad

Seeline Fri 10-May-13 10:25:05

YANBU - I think alot of elderly people are reluctant to admit that their bodies are not as reliable as they once were. I also think that people (of any age) do not realise how poor their eyesight has become as it generally deteriorates over time and you 'get used to it'. IME many older drivers do become more hesitant, which whilst unlikely to result in them having major accidents, can cause frustration in other drivers which results in them having accidents.

exexpat Fri 10-May-13 10:30:01

Younger drivers have a higher overall accident rate, but older drivers have a higher rate per mile driven - they tend not to drive so far or so fast, but they have a lot of accidents at junctions and roundabouts because of eyesight problems, hesitation etc.

CMOTDibbler Fri 10-May-13 10:36:10

YANBU - and contary to popular belief, its actually incredibly hard to get an elderly unsafe drivers license taken away from them. The GP cannot do this outright unless that person has a diagnosed condition which is on the DVLAs list of non driving conditions, and apart from persuading someone to surrender their license there is actually no way to get a revocation. Not even calling the police.

NiniLegsInTheAir Fri 10-May-13 10:44:55

YANBU. My Uncle had a motorbike accident a few years ago that almost killed him (not his fault)and when he wanted to start driving a car again he had to go through a test, although not the full driving test, to be sure he was safe.

My FIL (60's) and my parents (50's) drive totally differently to people my age as they were taught different methods. Surely as time and cars advance it should be a standard thing to bring the skills of drivers up to current methods? My husband passed his test 10 years, I passed mine 4 years ago and even then we were taught differently, which shows how things change.

I fail to see how this is ageist.

valiumredhead Fri 10-May-13 11:25:36

I completely agree OP.

somebloke123 Fri 10-May-13 11:33:20

I know that there are some medical tests (e.g. short-term memory test to flag up Alzheimers) where it is mandatory to inform the DVLA that you have taken it.

Of course it's sad if an elderly person has to give up driving if they are isolated and dependent on a car for social contacts but I guess it sometimes has to happen.

LadyInDisguise Fri 10-May-13 11:36:26

The reality is that as people get older they don't realize that their sight isn't as good, their reactions aren't are quick, they can't quite stay in the middle of the road etc...
And they don't want to listen to relatives because well... it's acknowledging that they are getting old, that they are also starting to be less independent. Things that no one wants to accept until you can't do anything else.

Imho, it's not just eye sight that needs testing. It's a full driving test that is needed. After all, you would expect them to be able to drive in a safely manner and, from my experience, not all older people can do so.

olgaga Fri 10-May-13 11:37:57

It won't happen anyway simply because the number of older drivers will increase as the population ages:

The number of drivers over 90 years old is set to increase by 18% - from 70,000 to 82,400 ? over the next five years. And with the number of 80 year old drivers also set to rise by 22% to around 1,283,000 in the next 10 years, drivers over the age of 65 ? who already make up 25% of licence holders - will also increase.

Anyway, I bet you'll all feel differently when you're approaching 70, still working, and needing the car more and more!

LarvalFormOfOddSock Fri 10-May-13 11:38:39

I agree with you OP but also agree with others that it may be hard to put into practice and justify it under equality law.

As a whole, I do find it amazing and worrying that after you've passed your test, that's pretty much it for life. I passed my test at 17 but haven't driven since I was 19. So haven't driven for 15 ish years yet I could quite legally get in a car (insured and taxed obviously) and head off with hardly any idea what I'm doing anymore!

And those saying that the older population have fewer accidents, isn't it true that they are directly involved in fewer accidents but do actually cause many more through eg driving slowly inappropriately, cutting people up and so on? I could be wrong on that but would love to know the stats.

elastamum Fri 10-May-13 11:43:11

It can be a problem. My BD disconnected the battery on my late DM's car to stop her driving it - she was very unsafe. Eventually she hit another motorist and was asked by the police to surrender her licence.

But console yourself that self driving cars are probably less than 20 years off, so by the time we are all old we will have computer controlled cars that wont let us do stupid stuff that endangers other road users.

Assuming we can afford to, we will probably be able to drive a car until we are too old to get out and about smile

Oblomov Fri 10-May-13 11:48:24

I too agree that people should be re-tested. At what age and how often I am not sure.
I also agree that older people may CAUSE more accidents, not necessarily be involved in them. Surely no stats are available for that.

Ilikethebreeze Fri 10-May-13 11:53:24

When someone sees an optician, of any age, and their sight is not good enough for driving, I am pretty sure |I am right in saying that they report it to the GP who tells you you cannot drive[or the optician does it anyway].
And a GP tells DVLA?

So, if your mum has a diagnosed cataract, she will have been told if she was therefore unfit to drive, solely because of her cataract.

The rest of the stuff, yanbu.

My children have got to the point and are old enough to say to one of their grandparents that they do not want to ride with him anymore.
He drives like your mother except for the driving too fast bit!

LondonMan Fri 10-May-13 12:32:56


At one point my father used to boast of never having had an accident in 30/40 years of driving. And he drove every day.

In the last five years until age 79 it was more a case of collisions per year rather than years between collisions. All car park scrapes. His eyesight was OK, it was just general deterioration of judgement.

NotYoMomma Fri 10-May-13 12:51:48

My nearly 70 year old ex bus driving instructor dad would be horrified at this...

Probably because he isn't nearly as good a driver as he likes to believe ;P

bluebell8782 Fri 10-May-13 13:11:02

YANBU and definitely not ageist.

A younger driver:
Passed their test more recently
Fresher knowledge
Less likely to have picked up bad habits
More likely to speed and perhaps 'show off' but most do mature out of that

An elderly driver:
Less observant
More likely to have picked up bad habits
More likely to have something physically or mentally wrong to impair judgement
Cause more accidents because people get impatient behind them (mostly because of the above reasons)

This isn't everyone, just my opinion on the general population. I think if 70 is the age of renewal then I think that would be a great opportunity for a check-up on driving ability. If they are capable then they have nothing to be concerned about. If they are worried about having their license removed then perhaps that's already telling them they are not safe on the roads.

ReindeerBollocks Fri 10-May-13 13:17:34

YANBU, your reaction times slow down as you get older, making for more nervous elderly drivers. We have a lot of elderly cautious drivers here who cause accidents through over hesitation and driving too slowly.

However to prevent discrimination it would probably be more beneficial to re-test all licence holders every 5-10 years. As everyone will benefit from being reminded of the road rules, and of bad habits picked up over the years.

5Foot5 Fri 10-May-13 13:28:43

YABU Ageist. Young drives are statistically more liely to have an accident.

I disagree. Certainly youger and more inexperienced drivers are statistically more likely to have an accident. But I don't think it is at all ageist to point out that peoples driving skills do often detriorate with age.

My FIL is 82 and still drives. He has realised for himself that long drives are too much for him now but he still does shorter distances. I have been in the car with him and frankly he is nowehere near as sharp as he used to be. Last time he visited he drove out of our estate and narrowly missed a head on collision as he was looking the other way. I was in the passenger seat speechless with shock and then realised that he hadn't even noticed the other car and had no idea how close he had come to hitting it.

cumfy Fri 10-May-13 15:39:18


On "In Touch" Radio 4, there have been at least 2 sight impaired interviewees in the last 3 or 4 years where they casually discussed only giving up driving when they could hardly see.

Sort of: It was getting to the stage where I was having trouble making out the traffic lights and whilst my consultant was supportive, I thought I'd best call it a day.

SlowlorisIncognito Fri 10-May-13 15:58:34

I think there should be regular retests every 10 years. There are many people who drive today who passed a test much less rigourous than the one you have to pass today. When people in their 50s and 60s learnt to drive there was only a fraction of the traffic on the road that there is today. Obviously many people have adapted to that, but some haven't and do drive dangerously at time.

Equally most older people did not do a theory test, and many of them can't answer enough questions on it to pass (anecdotal evidence admittedly). Surely if a young person isn't safe to drive without this knowledge, an older person isn't either?

My mother (in her fifties) was not asked to do any reversing during her driving test. She can reverse safely, but I have met people driving around country lanes who claim to be unable to reverse. Maybe they don't want to, but if they genuinely can't I don't think they are safe to be driving on the roads.

The cost should be kept down so it is affordable to all (why is it just the young who should be prohibited from driving due to high costs?) but I do think it would make the roads safer. Road accidents are one of the highest causes of death for people in their 20s, and not all those accidents are their fault.

LayMizzRarb Fri 10-May-13 16:25:23

Am I the only one to think you should tell your mother to stop driving immediately, and not start again until she can see properly and threaten to call the DVLA and report her if she does not? I realise this will cause tension between you but is not just you two in the picture here.

You say yourself, she cannot see properly, often mounts kerbs and goes through red lights. She is not fit to drive. So any pre schoolers walking along the pavement, or children cycling on the road will be killed or seriously injured when she runs them over. Elderly or disabled people will be at great risk when she disregards the traffic lights.

You have a responsibility to prevent injury and/or death of other people.

IneedAsockamnesty Fri 10-May-13 16:36:10


You people tend to have accidents because they are behaving like idiots old people tend to have them because their ability has changed.

Most of the car accidents around here are either younger people driving to fast but the ones involving old people are because of things like driving the wrong way down the duel carriageway, miss judging distance and mounting pavements not even seeing other cars when they are obvious.

Its my understanding that whilst yes young drivers have more accidents over 70's have more per miles driven.

OddSockMonster Fri 10-May-13 16:40:40

YANBU. Some younger drivers scare me, but older drivers scare me more.

We've just about convinced FIL to have a go at this local Older Drivers Skills Scheme, you might find there's something local to your DM OP.

5Foot5 Fri 10-May-13 16:45:48

My mother (in her fifties) was not asked to do any reversing during her driving test.

Are you sure she is remembering this right?

I am approaching 51 and reversing was very definitely part of the test. And when I was a small girl my mother took driving lessons (gave up before taking a test though) and she certainly had to learn to reverse. In fact it was this and her inability to do it that put her off!

FariesDoExist Fri 10-May-13 16:46:32


My MIL is in her 70's, her driving is shocking. One minute she's dithering at the roundabout, wondering whether to go or not, stalling, causing chaos, and the next minute she's speeding and completely oblivious that she's still got her indicator on and she's confusing everyone. The problem seems to be slower reactions and decision making processes, lack of ability to make a judgement or think quickly.

She wasn't a bad driver when she was in her early 60's. I'm shocked that she still drives and I would never in a million years let her drive with my children in the car.

SilverOldie Fri 10-May-13 16:56:48

I'm in my late 60s and when my car died I made the decision not to replace it. I was a good driver but felt that as I aged, I would not be as safe.

However, if anyone is going to be re-tested on a regular basis it should be those who have/cause the most accidents, ie teens and early twenties.

marjproops Fri 10-May-13 16:58:27

young learners should be taught that theres a volume button on their stereos and they shouldnt have them so loud as to not hear emergency vehicles. and no one else wants to hear their ntss ntss ntss ntss.

ALL drivers be taught there are ashtrays in the car.

that there are indicators in the car.

that there are speed limits for a REASON.

to not park in places/spaces theyre not supposed to.

and that phones/fags and the like should not be used in cars as you need 2 hands to drive.

and breathe.......

upanddown83 Fri 10-May-13 17:09:21

I definitely think there should be some way of testing older people when they're health and confidence starts to deteriorate.
I used to go shopping with my granny every week and we used to park at the far end of the car park so no other cars were near her, the last time she drove I had to reverse out of the space because (i was 17 only had a provisional) she was so anxious she couldn't do it!
When we got home that day and I told my Granda what happened he cut her licence in half! shock
I passed my test a few months later and became her unofficial chauffeur! I think my Granda was right in way as she was only going to get worse and 6 months later was diagnosed with dementia!

LayMizzRarb Fri 10-May-13 17:14:37

I'm shocked that she still drives and I would never in a million years let her drive with my children in the car

But fuck anyone else on the road/pavement. It's ok for them to be killed/injured.

Out of interest, what would you all do if you saw someone stagger drunkenly and get behind the wheel of a car? is that ok, because you're not in the car with them?

MrsSchadenfreude Fri 10-May-13 17:20:39

LayMizz - I could tell my mother until I was blue in the face not to drive. She would just laugh at me. I told her doctor about my concerns. She didn't share them. So - I should ring the DVLA, and say "I don't think my mother's safe to drive," they check with her doctor, who would say "Oh no, she's fine." And no doubt it would be recorded as a malicious phone call.

Alisvolatpropiis Fri 10-May-13 17:26:13


Though I think 60 personally.

My grandmother didn't learn to drive until she was 58 but the average person of her age (74) has been driving since what,the 50's? The tests one has to pass now are slightly more arduous than then

digerd Fri 10-May-13 17:26:56

My dad was a very proud man, and got his first car in the 50s. He didn't need a driving test in those days as he had a motor-bike licence.
When he was 72, he had a blackout driving on a motorway, crashed into the barrier taking a 3rd of a mile of it with him and just missed a lorry on the other side.
He was fine but mum had agonizing whiplash covering her chest and couldn't move for weeks.

Dad gave up driving there and then. That was in 1981. In 1984 he died of a heart attack.

My friends FIL was still driving long distances at 93, but then changed to short distances and died at 95

grimbletart Fri 10-May-13 17:35:28

I am an older person: re reversing in driving test. Yes, you definitely had to reverse round a corner when I took my driving test (I was 17).

My Dad drove into his 80's but was more careful as he got older. He had a progressive eyesight problem (AMD) and he did check with his consultant each time if he was still OK to drive.

amothersplaceisinthewrong Fri 10-May-13 17:44:21

Having beein in the car with my eighty two year old FIL, I think I agree with you OP. He clearly can't see properly yet refuses to do anyting about it. Last year he asked me to complete the application form for the renewal of license as it was "far too confusing".... if he is in this state, feel sure he probably should not be driving. But it's his little bit of independence and with us 250 miles away and not on hand to help, it is a difficult one.

FickleFingerOfCake Fri 10-May-13 17:47:12


After my Grandad died aged 82 a few years ago my mum was taking Gran (a non-driver) to do the weekly shop. They stopped at traffic lights en route. When the lights changed my Gran suddenly said "GREEN" Evidently my mum must have looked a bit nonplussed because Gran quickly reassured her it was not a comment on her driving, but over the last few months prior to my Grandad's death she had been telling him what colour traffic lights were on and reading roadsigns etc because his eyesight was so bad he couldn't see them himself.


My mum had never recently been in a car with the two of them and so had no idea. Gran seemed to think it reasonable as they were only tootling to the local supermarket once a week.

Routine retesting at intervals of x years after the age of y would remove the onus from family and friends to spot deterioration in the driver's capability behind the wheel. (Not that they can do much about it). As someone said earlier driving is a privilege not a right at all costs.

Just my two penn'orth.

MissBetseyTrotwood Fri 10-May-13 18:03:02

I find it terrifying that my Granddad in law is still legally able to drive. He did have to do another test age 90 (I think) and we were all shock when he passed.

The week before his test we'd been driving behind him and watched him sail through a red light at twilight. He still takes the car out now despite the entire family telling him not to.

LayMizzRarb Fri 10-May-13 18:10:33

OP I really understand where you're coming from, not being able to reason with your mum, I have one just as stubborn.
Someone I work with rang the DVLA with regards to her Dad. They were very understaning, and told her she could have anonymity, and they would not tell her Dad it was her who rang. Theyset the wheels in motion to have him tested by an independent examiner She was racked with guilt for a long long time that his licence was revoked because of her, but he was just as much at risk of injuring/killing himself as well.

pussycatwillum Fri 10-May-13 18:38:07

Why shouldn't we all be retested? I am 61 and DS (18) is learning to drive. It is really interesting when he talks me through what his instructor has said, because although I don't think I am a bad driver I have certainly got into some bad habits over the last 30 years.
DH, DS and I did the online practise theory tests and DS and I passed, but DH (who has been driving over 40 years) failed.
A retest every 10 years or so might well be a good idea for everyone.

TheCraicDealer Fri 10-May-13 18:48:44

It's not ageist in the slightest, it's reality. Totally agree with Compo- with young drivers (admittedly statistically the most dangerous group) most accidents are caused by cockiness of lack of experience. These traits are often corrected after a few years behind the wheel, hence why insurance premiums dip after 25.

Elderly drivers, on the other hand, are never going to improve unless someone intervenes. Even if it's just a mandatory eye test, it could just be a matter of telling someone they need specs and they're already in a more advantageous position to be in control of a vehicle. With an ageing population with better, more powerful cars, we could soon see a change in the statistics behind car crashes and fatalities to reflect shifting demographics. The last thing we want is a high number of unsafe drivers on the road. Something simple, like an eye/reaction time test, could weed out those most likely to face issues.

Midlifecrisisarefun Fri 10-May-13 19:42:14

My DGF used to smugly say 'been driving 50yr and had no accidents' we used to used to chorus 'because they were left in your wake' grin
He did give up when he confused brake/accelator and ploughed into another car on a junction..but not because of his skills but the insurance didn't cover the cost of a decent car! hmm He was in his 80s.
We all know the stats on younger drivers, so surely the answer now that the school leaving age is being raised and youngsters are starting work at a older age, is to put it up to 18/19 or even 21 and a top age of 80.

CruCru Fri 10-May-13 20:55:42

Regardless of the age thing, I think everyone should have to have their eyes tested at least every other year to have a valid driving test.

Astley Fri 10-May-13 21:34:01

Couldn't agree more. That evil man who refused to surrender his licence when he should have killed Cassie McCord in Colchester. 16 she was when he drove onto the pavement and crushed her between a wall and his car.

The GP should have the right to take a licence not wait for the DVLA or rely on people having the common decency to know when they are a danger.

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