The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) is currently reviewing the rules for drivers who are aged 70 and above. Currently the process to extend your licence is straightforward. If you have a valid licence currently and your doctor supports the decision for you to carry on driving there are no additional restrictions, but this could be about to change according to an article in The Sunday Times.
As we know the UK has an aging population and recent figures show that the number of over 70’s still driving has doubled in the last 25 years. Studies have also shown that many of us do not alert the DVLA when are health deteriorates. According to the government website we must inform the DVLA ‘if we have a driving licence and develop a ‘notifiable’ medical condition or disability, or a condition or disability has got worse since we got our licence’ (www.gov.uk)
It is reported that the DVLA is considering a ‘graduate licence’ aimed specifically at those individuals aged over 70 who are in poor health. Under this scheme they would potentially have a tracker installed on their vehicle, be limited in travelling only 20-30 miles from home and potentially banned from driving at night. This would mean they would still be able to drive to the shops, their GP and around their local area. Another suggestion is that it should fall to doctors or other healthcare professionals to identify individuals who should no longer be driving and inform the DVLA accordingly.
Obviously, road safety is paramount, but should people have to reapply for their licence just because they reach the age of 70, is this yet another ageist policy? Surely if such a policy be introduced it should apply to ALL ages. How would you feel about such restrictions and limitations being imposed on you due to a health condition? Let us know your thoughts by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org.