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Research reveals elderly drivers are not dangerous

17th March 2017

This news article is from Handicare UK. Articles that appear on this website are for information purposes only.

An academic has revealed that elderly people are as safe as any other driver on British roads.

Dr Charles Musselwhite has undertaken lots of research and speaking at the British Science Festival he said his study has proven older drivers are safer than other age groups.

In recent times there have been calls from some people to introduce new tests to make sure the elderly were still fit enough to drive, but this would not make the UK’s roads any safer, according to Dr Musselwhite.

In fact stopping elderly people from driving could have a detrimental effect on them and stopping driving could do them harm as research shows that while the elderly make up just 19 per cent of all pedestrians, they make up 40 per cent of all victims killed while walking.

The research suggests icy pavements and badly maintained surfaces could be part of the reason for the high number of pedestrian deaths among the elderly. Those who have mobility issues and need walk in baths at home are much safer driving in a car than walking on an uneven pavement, for example.

Speaking to the Independent, Dr Charles Musselwhite, added, “My research suggests that while people think older people are dangerous on the road —they aren’t.

“People also think testing old people will make the roads safer — it won’t.”

Older people drive more carefully

Dr Charles Musselwhite admitted that reaction times decrease and susceptibility to glare increases as people get older, but that to compensate, the elderly drive more carefully.

The research also highlighted that males aged 17 to 21 are three to four times more likely to cause an accident than men and women 70 or over.

A look at other countries who have implemented stricter tests for older drivers show that this did not decrease the number of accidents involving the elderly.

Dr Musselwhite also highlighted that figures showing the elderly are more likely to be killed or seriously injured in road accidents can be put down to the fact they are more vulnerable to injury.