Pensioners Driving: Am I too old too drive?

22nd January 2019 Driving Offences

The recent crash involving 97 year old Prince Philip had dominated the recent press with many asking whether he should be allowed to drive. In light of that, let’s examine the current legal position.

Can you ever be too old to drive?

Currently, the UK has no upper age limit for driving a car. It is dependent upon your health and ability to drive. That being said however, all drivers have to renew their driving licence when they reach the age of 70 and every three years thereafter.

What happens when I reach 70 years of age?

The DVLA should automatically send you a renewal form 90 days before your 70th birthday. You can also renew your driving licence online at any time from 90 days before your 70th birthday with no charge. The form requires you to declare any medical conditions you may have and confirm that you meet the eyesight requirements for driving. In other words, it is down to you to take personal responsibility to make sure that you are fit to drive.

If you have developed a medical condition or disability that could affect your driving, the onus is on you to declare it to the DVLA even if you are not yet due to renew your licence.

The sort of medical conditions that must be declared are:-

  • Diabetes (if insulin treated)
  • Epilepsy
  • Parkinsons
  • Dementia
  • Alcohol / drug misuse / dependency
  • Any chronic neurological conditions such as multiple sclerosis
  • Any condition that affects both eyes or total loss of sight in one eye

This list is not exhaustive and a full list can be found on the DVLA website.

What happens if I declare a medical condition?

The DVLA make a decision based on the information you provide or they may contact your GP or consultant with your permission. In some circumstances, they will arrange for a local doctor or specialist to examine you. They may ask you to take a driving assessment, eye sight test or a driving appraisal.

With an ageing population, there are ever increasing numbers of drivers aged 70 or older on our roads. There is no evidence however to show that older drivers are more likely to be involved in a road traffic collision and in fact, older drivers tend to be far less likely to take risks such as driving too fast or whilst distracted or after consuming alcohol.

To talk to our team about similar issues please do not hesitate to get in touch.

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Hojol Uddin is a Partner and Head of Department located in Manchesterin our Driving Offences department

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