People in Wales are divided over whether older drivers should re-take their driving tests. It comes as a recent survey found that 49% of Brits want elderly drivers banned from the roads with compulsory driving tests for drivers over 60.
The CarTakeBack.com and YouGov study found most people believe “older drivers don’t have fast enough reaction times”. The majority of people thought the compulsory test retakes should occur between the ages of 71 and 75, with 10 per cent of people calling for all drivers to be banned after the age of 86, and 14 per cent calling for a ban on anyone over 19.
WalesOnline readers left hundreds of comments under our Facebook post about the survey results – and their views were mixed. Many jumped to the defence of elderly motorists, while pointing out that it is generally younger drivers who pose a bigger danger. You can read all our traffic and travel stories here.
Lyndon Jones wrote: “Most elderly drivers have experience and sometimes get a premonition that something is going to happen”, adding that older drivers “don’t listen to music as a distraction and don’t use their phones to text whilst driving”.
Allen Balfour Geiner expressed a similar frustration with the younger generation. “Older drivers aren’t on their mobiles all the time while driving,” he wrote. Wayne Bennett added: “Some of the idiotic driving I see by younger drivers is staggering, speeding, not wearing their seatbelts.”
Rebecca Seear Day even claimed her 89-year-old mother had a faster reaction time than she does. “Not so many months before she died she was back-seat driving and telling me off for “creeping” or dithering at a roundabout whereas she’d nip out and miss no available gap in the traffic,” she commented. Nigel G Webb also didn’t feel youngsters had enough experience on the roads, writing: “These young drivers wouldn’t know what to do if the car was sliding on ice”
Jeff Davies said he used to agree that elderly drivers should retake their tests, but now as an older person himself he’s changed his mind. He wrote: “This headline appears every ten years, and fifty years ago I agreed with it. Now fifty years later I am not so sure. Youngsters cause more fatalities than us old drivers.”
Ritchie Wilson added: “They should concentrate on those new drivers who are taught how to pass their test and once they achieve this and are let loose on the roads promptly forget how to drive with any consideration for fellow road users. No indication, tailgating etc.” Roy Litchfield even suggested young people should be “tested every three years”.
But some commenters felt the suggestion for older drivers to re-take their driving tests wasn’t such a bad idea. While Paul Ames didn’t think older drivers shouldn’t be stripped of their licence completely, he felt it was important there were measures in place to make sure they still using the roads safely.
He wrote: “I do believe that there are a lot of the older generation that shouldn’t be on the road. I’ve said it for years – there should be some kind of refresher course when they reach maybe 65-70 years of age. Not all pensioners are bad but a lot of them their reaction time is nowhere good enough. They don’t keep up with the flow of traffic, and their awareness of other vehicles on the road is poor.”
Steph Bowring suggested that rather than redoing the entire driving test, reaction times could be tested. “I think its a fact that reaction times slow down with age. Probably this could vary from person to person too.” Natalie Ann Beatie thought older driers should retake their tests and felt 75-years-old was the ideal time for this. She added: “It’s also important that they update the DVLA on any sight or hearing deficiencies too.”
Others felt all motorists should be re-tested, regardless of their age. Dylan Griffiths wrote: “Agreed, on one condition, anyone under 25 who has an accident must retake the test”. Amy Philpin-McConnell suggested: “Eventually it should be everyone has to re-sit their test every time their photocard expires. Deals with younger drivers that passed through luck more than skill and the older drivers that should give up their licence but refuse to.”
Doug Wilkes wrote: “Personally I think everyone should have some sort of safety retest every 5 to 10 years, just to make sure the standard of driving is maintained at a reasonable level.” Craig Morris had a similar view, writing: “Driving licenses should expire every 5 years max and to obtain a new one everyone regardless of age or experience should have to sit a refresher course to have it validated again for another 5 years.”
But some felt the requirement to retake your driving test should depend on whether you were involved in an accident. Rob Hemmings wrote: “How about if you caused an accident and you were found to be at fault then you have to resit a test? It would be interesting to see what age group this involved.” Adele Jones said: “If you have a clean licence and not had or caused any accidents there shouldn’t be any reason for people to resit a test regardless of their age until they become a danger to themselves or other drivers.” To get more traffic and travel stories sent straight to your inbox every single day, click here.