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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...

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