Pensioners taken off our roads

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MORE than 70 pensioners had their driving licences revoked in Wigan borough last year.

Figures released by the DVLA showed that 76 licences belonging to those over the age of 70 were revoked because of health problems in 2009/10.

There is no maximum age limit to driving, but all motorists must tell the DVLA of any conditions or changes in their health or disability which may affect their ability to drive safely.

The DVLA say the five most common causes of elderly drivers having their licences taken off them are glaucoma, dementia, diabetes, stroke and Parkinson’s Disease.

The news comes as the Government plans a major overhaul of the current licensing criteria for elderly drivers.

Currently a driving licence is valid until the age of 70.

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After that it has to be renewed every three years, with the motorist filling out a questionnaire confirming that it is still safe for them to drive.

The Government’s plans are expected to include a requirement for all drivers to certify their fitness to be on the road every 10 years.

The latest projections suggest that the number of drivers aged over 65 will increase from 9.5m in 2004 to 12m in 2021.

Neil Greig, of the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), believes that restrictive licenses for the elderly are a solution to the problem.

He said: “Our research tells us is that some locations are high risk for older drivers but they remain safe on town and local roads for much longer.

“The idea we have floated is that rather than losing your licence completely you promise to avoid high speed roads and are given a restricted licence.

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“Such a licence would be valid only on local roads in a certain area.

“It does not require enforcement because the alternative is no driving at all, which most older people would not wish to contemplate. A restricted licence would keep older people mobile, independent and less of a burden on society.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) also believes steps can be taken to ensure older drivers are aware of their health and driving abilities, but not through restrictive licensing measures.