Road safety firm calls for mandatory eye tests for older drivers

Of the 41.5 million people who hold a full driving licence in the UK, 6.25 million (15%) are older than 70. Their number is increasing at the rate of 250,000 each year. While their health varies widely, one condition they are all likely to share is failing eyesight.

“It’s a huge issue,” said Heard, who was inspired to found the Older Drivers Forum after attending a fatal head-on collision caused by a 92-year-old driver. “As we age, our distance and peripheral vision deteriorate. The ability of our eyes to quickly react to changing light levels also declines. 

For example, a 15-year-old’s eyes take around two seconds to adjust to the bright lights of an oncoming car, but a 65-year-old’s around nine.” 

Although the average 70-year-old driver is no more likely to have an accident than a younger driver, one aged over 85 is four times more likely to be the cause of a crash than the innocent victim of one. Between the ages of 70 and 80, drivers are statistically safe but make more expensive motor insurance claims. 

This explains why from the age of 70, their insurance premiums begin to rise steeply. For example, a 62-year-old motorist living in Surrey can expect to pay around £300 to insure a Volkswagen Golf, but it’s around £550 for their 70-year-old equivalent. 

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