Gransnet forums

News & politics

Should there be a driving test and a cut off age?

(93 Posts)
Grammaretto Thu 02-Jul-20 16:46:49

I was sad and shocked to read about a little boy being killed yesterday when a woman aged 91 drove her car onto the pavement and hit him and his mother.

I have heard that it an infringement on liberty; that for some people their car is their lifeline. But is it really or should it be?

Madgran77 Thu 02-Jul-20 16:52:23

I think there should be compulsory retesting after the age of 75 years.

Tangerine Thu 02-Jul-20 16:53:25

I often think that a proper medical should take place, not just a rubber stamping exercise. Some kind of driving test also perhaps to test reactions.

I am always in favour of fairness so, as long as it applies to everyone when they reach a particular age, I think the law needs changing.

What age though? Perhaps 80 or 85?

The trouble is there are some people at that age who drive beautifully and safely and some people who are 20 who are bad drivers. It isn't one size fits all.

If they want people to give up driving though, they definitely need to provide a proper transport system to get people to all their medical appointments. If everyone over 80 gave up driving tomorrow, the surgeries and hospitals would be in the most dreadful mess.

Also, they'd need to provide shopping and other assistance.

welbeck Thu 02-Jul-20 16:54:05

age is tricky.
but everyone should report anyone whom they suspect is not up to driving safely anymore.
and there are many. and often commented upon. it doesn't usually come out of nowhere.
and if anyone in the family has access to their house, i think they are duty bound to make it impossible for the person to drive. as well as reporting. take away keys. remove a vital part.
in fact this is more important in a way. because some people even when told officially not to drive/ having their licence cancelled, will carry on regardless.

Madgran77 Thu 02-Jul-20 16:56:08

I often think that a proper medical should take place, not just a rubber stamping exercise. Some kind of driving test also perhaps to test reactions.

Yes I think the medical is a good idea too Tangerine

pinkquartz Thu 02-Jul-20 16:56:32

If I can't drive because i am too ill then I don't see why age should not also be a reason to stop driving.

The woman who killed the little boy what can she be feeling like now?
We had a cyclist killed not that long ago because the elderly driver said he couldn't see in broad daylight anyone in fornt of him.
How awful

Yes to a recheck driving test after 80 years old.

pinkquartz Thu 02-Jul-20 17:01:34

If some people drive fine after 80 then it's not a problem is it?
They will pass their test and those who fail can at least be saved from killing someone!

I never reported a neighbour for driving even when her legs didn't work properly and she was dosed up on morphine for pain.

But a few of us were relived when she stopped driving though she only stopped a few weeks before dying.

dragonfly46 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:07:12

Yes I think we should have a test at 75 and maybe every 5 years after.

jacq10 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:10:46

Gramaretto I was sitting in my car when the news came over the radio on Tuesday lunchtime. What a heartbreak for a family. At 91yrs old, no matter how good your driving skills are, your reactions and instincts will have slowed down. The driver involved in killing this child will have to live with what happened for the rest of her life. I agree with pinkquartz that a re-check driving test should be compulsory instead of the current system of more or less being able to certify your own ability every three years.

AGAA4 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:11:35

There should be a medical for those over 80 and the doctor should assess whether the person is fit to drive.
At the moment there is just a form to fill in to say you are fit and it is up to the person to tell the truth.
Retesting at 80 may not help as people have good and bad days so may drive perfectly one day and not the next.

Tangerine Thu 02-Jul-20 17:12:23

People are mentioning a re-test.

Do they mean the full driving test? I certainly think some kind of driving test is needed but I wonder if the full test is necessary.

After all, it checks things like smooth gear changing which is not necessarily the problem. The people can often mechanically drive the car but it is their reactions and eyesight that are problematic.

Could a specific test for the older person be devised?

Perhaps I am too lenient.

Madgran77 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:20:41

I think there is probably potential for an older persons test linked to the specific things that decline like reaction time etc. I also think that the test should have to be taken at regular intervals after a specific age...but unsure how often. Maybe every 2 years? 1 year? Not sure.

I think this process might actually filter a few more drivers out earlier through their own choice, rather than take the test

V3ra Thu 02-Jul-20 17:25:26

There used to be a "Fitness to Drive" medical after the age of 75.
A GP I worked for said she really couldn't pass one older gentleman who'd come for his check up.
She knew it would really affect his independence, but more importantly she knew she had the public safety to consider.

My Dad is still driving at 89. He had a break after Mum died and he'd been in for some respite care, then he wanted to start again.
At my suggestion he had a couple of sessions with a driving instructor who said she was happy for him to continue driving.
As well as a medical checkup I think a practical assessment could be useful.

My father-in-law used to have blackouts, but still drove, but "It's ok because I only go local or stick to the inside lane." Unbelievable.
I always said to my husband, don't you dare get in the car with him driving.

Grammaretto Thu 02-Jul-20 17:25:41

Although I wouldn't like to have to take a test, I would be prepared to do it. The self test is not enough.
My FiL has stopped driving but not before he hit a petrol pump and a "keep left" bollard . He was over 90.

growstuff Thu 02-Jul-20 17:27:57

My mother had serious eyesight problems for a couple of years before her death, but kept on insisting that she could drive. She lied on the form for the DVLA. Her car was covered with bumps, where she hadn't seen walls or other objects (fortunately not children).

One day, I was with her in the car and she drove the wrong way round a roundabout. When I nearly had a fit, she said that the roundabout hadn't been there the last time she drove down that road.

That was the last straw. My sister and I got hold of her keys and drove the car away. She didn't stop moaning until she died about how her daughters had taken away her freedom. We tried to point out that she could use the money she used to spend on her car for taxis, but she always came up with excuses about how she didn't like taxis.

Yes, I think there should be some sort of test.

crazyH Thu 02-Jul-20 17:29:44

OMG - how awful ! That poor family ?

Harris27 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:31:00

I think it should be compulsory for all of us after 80 to have some sort of check nit just a written bit of paper.

growstuff Thu 02-Jul-20 17:35:44


I think it should be compulsory for all of us after 80 to have some sort of check nit just a written bit of paper.

I agree. Eyesight might be a good start.

NotSpaghetti Thu 02-Jul-20 17:39:11

I think 80 is too late. If reaction and eye tests started at say, retirement age and continued about 3 yearly I think that would be worth something. It’s usually eyesight or reaction time that is the issue I think and these tests are easy to administer. Maybe the driving practical checks are a good idea too later on but if we all got used to the eyesight and reaction checks it wouldn’t feel so dreadful.

jacq10 Thu 02-Jul-20 17:52:16

I feel quite strongly about this. My late DH was driving myself and DS home one day and went to go out on to the main road from a junction when myself and DS shouted for him to stop. He admitted he hadn't really seen the car until the very last minute. A few days later he came home from golf saying he had a bad game and thought there was something wrong with his right eye. Was diagnosed as losing his central vision in that eye and gave up driving and his golf immediately. Said he didn't miss the driving as he had a chauffeur (me!) but, boy, did he miss his golf and the social life that went with it but never really complained as he knew it was the right thing to do. He was 82 at the time. I would like to see a system where diagnosis of eyesight problems by doctor or optician should be reported to the DVLA.

blondenana Thu 02-Jul-20 17:55:42

I thought oldser people had to have a driving test at 70, a lady i used to know often gave me a lift, but i was shocked when she gave a lift one day and signalled to go one way and went the other, not long after that she was diagnosed with a brain tumour,and told she had only 6 weeks left to live, she actually lived for another year, but her daughter told me that she must have forged whatever she needed a signature for to say she was fit to drive, and the daughters husband usually signed it,but wasn't asked so they thought someone else must have,
I was horrified to think she was so ill and still driving

Lucca Thu 02-Jul-20 17:58:15

Definitely there should be a test of some kind. Surely at some point the safety of the general public is more important than an individual’s independence and liberty ?
Mymother was an excellent driver. It at some point in her 80s she thought she’d had a blackout while driving. She never drove again for which I really admire her.

bikergran Thu 02-Jul-20 18:00:40

I think a lot! of older/elderly people will not go for an eye test as they will know that the optician could stop them driving.

Susan56 Thu 02-Jul-20 18:02:25

Age is a bit tricky as some people are still working aged 70 and over.

My grandma announced at 80 she would no longer be driving.Even though she was still capable of driving she had made her own cut off point which most family members have followed.

I think probably 80 would be an age where a driving assessment should be carried out although I think every driver should have an eye test every year.

Some years ago when I was working in a Drs surgery,an elderly lady reversed through the waiting room wall.Luckily it was lunch time and the surgery was empty or it would have been carnage.Her driving licence was rescinded.A couple of weeks later one of the GP’s reported he had seen her riding a bicycle through the village?

twinnytwin Thu 02-Jul-20 18:07:47

I'll probably start at riot here, but I don't agree. My heart goes out to the family of the child and the driver, but suggesting everyone over retirement age gets regular testing isn't the answer in my opinion. How many children are killed each year by younger drivers? That doesn't make headlines of course. Should everyone, not just the over 65, on prescription drugs that could make them drowsy, who haven't got perfect eyesight, who need a hip/knee replacement etc. be forced to stop driving? I could go on.

My Father was driving into his 80s. The family decided it was time for him to stop and he did, although the lack of his independence really hit him hard. Thank goodness I was able to take him and Mum to their appointments as I took early retirement, although it was a 30 mile round trip.

Also, would pay for these tests? There are millions of us over 65s. If we were expected to pay ourselves there would be an outcry so the burden would be on the NHS again. There are some excellent older drives and we shouldn't tar everyone over 65 with the same brush.