Carlton Boyce / 17 February 2015
A survey by Saga showed that the number of people driving over the age of 70 is increasing. Although your fitness to drive is determined by your health and ability, and NOT your age, there are some rules and laws that you must be aware of if you drive after your 70th birthday.
Your fitness to drive is determined by your health and ability – NOT your age
Mature drivers, many of whom have decades of accident-free motoring behind them, are generally safe drivers.
Indeed, a policy paper published by ROSPA (The Royal Society for the Prevention Of Accidents) reports that drivers up to 70-years-old are no more likely to be the cause of an accident than any other age group.
Related: Is there an age limit for car hire?
However, as you get older, there are a few rules that you need to be aware of when driving. Find out what the law says you must do as you enter your eighth decade, as well as some things you might like to consider doing.
You must renew your driving licenceYou must renew your driving licence when you reach 70 and then do so every three years thereafter. It’s not an onerous task (if you click on the link you can do so online), and you should get your new licence within a week of applying.
While you’re at it, you can change your driving licence photograph at the same time, which is a good idea if your appearance has changed drastically since you last applied for one all those years ago!
You must meet the minimum eyesight requirementsWhen you renew your driving licence, you’ll be prompted to confirm that your eyesight meets the minimum requirements. The requirements aren’t too strict; as a guide you should meet them if you can read a standard car number plate (wearing glasses or contact lenses if you normally wear them) at a distance of twenty metres.
You also need to have an adequate field of vision and meet the demands of the Snell Test (the one where you read rows of letters in ever-decreasing size), so now might be a good time to visit your optician and ask them to give you an eyesight test to put your mind at rest.
You must notify the DVLA of any significant changes in your healthYou must tell the DVLA if you have a ‘notifiable medical condition’, or if such a condition has worsened since you last told it. Notifiable conditions are anything that can affect your ability to drive and include:
- Heart conditions;
- Parkinson’s Disease;
- Other neurological and mental health conditions;
- Any physical or visual impairments.
You could consider taking an IAM driving assessmentThe Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) offers a 60-minute Mature Driver’s Assessment for £35. This is undertaken in your own car and on roads you’ll be familiar with and is designed to pinpoint your strengths and weaknesses, along with areas for development. It’s completely confidential and won’t be shared with anyone else.
Who knows, it might prompt you to take the IAM’s Skill For Life course, the starting point for your new journey as an advanced driver!
As you can see, getting older doesn’t mean you can’t stay mobile. The wealth of experience you’ve gained over the years will help offset slightly slower reflexes and, with a little forethought and care, there is no reason you can’t continue driving for years.
– See more at: http://www.saga.co.uk/magazine/motoring/cars/using/driving-past-your-70th-birthday#sthash.5jD3JcyQ.dpuf