Page last updated at 07:51 GMT, Wednesday, 14 April 2010 08:51 UK

Elderly motorists 'safer than younger drivers'

L plate being ripped
The RAC Foundation said mandatory testing could be discriminatory

Elderly motorists should not be forced to retake the driving test as they are often safer than young drivers, a report by the RAC Foundation has found.

The RAC said mandatory re-testing for elderly drivers would do little to reduce road accidents.

RAC Foundation director Professor Stephen Glaister said: "Despite the myths, older drivers are no less safe than other age groups.

The foundation added that re-testing could break equality legislation.

Prof Glaister said: "Older drivers should be encouraged to do refresher training where the evidence shows it has benefits.

"But they should see this as an offer of help, not a compulsory measure which will leave them fearful of losing their licence and becoming increasingly housebound."

Among the report's findings were that:

  • 63% of journeys by over-70s are by car, either as a driver or passenger
  • 53% of the over-70s hold a driving licence
  • 16% of the UK population is currently over the age of 65
  • By 2023, almost 25% of the population is predicted to be over 65

The RAC report found the ageing process and infrequent driving only increased risk when drivers reached the age of 80, or did very limited mileage.

However the foundation added the frailty of older drivers did mean they were more likely to be killed or injured in an accident.

Racing legend Sir Stirling Moss, 80, said everyone should be retested at 65 or 70.

He told BBC 5 live: "We should all be reappraised because driving is quite different today than it was 10 years ago.

"I mean the roads change, the signals change, the signs and all that sort of stuff. It's a lot more complex now."

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