Should older drivers have to resit the driving test?

Should there be an upper age limit on driving? Or should older people have to re-sit their driving test?

The issue of older drivers has been in the news following the recent crash involving the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh on the A149 in Norfolk.

In a survey by   Select Car Leasing, a third (35%) of motorists said that drivers should have to resit the driving test once they turn 60. Among those already aged 65 or more, however, only 6% supported the suggestion, reported.

In the UK there is no legal age at which you must stop driving, and no age-related requirement to resit the driving test.

Drivers must renew their licence at age 70, and every three years after that. To renew their licence, drivers must confirm that their eyesight meets current standards, and they do not have any medical conditions that may affect their driving.

The Government has no plans to introduce age-related retesting.

As Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents (RoSPA) explained, "Age is a completely arbitrary and unreliable measure for assessing someone's ability to drive.

"Statistically, older drivers have fewer accidents than other age groups. If we were to restrict drivers based on any relationship between age and accident rates, we would need to take a fresh look at inexperienced, younger drivers aged 17 to 24."

Figures published by road safety charity Brake show that motorists aged 60 or over are no more likely to be involved in crashes than other drivers, and in fact drivers aged 60-69 actually have less than half the crash rate of drivers aged 20-29. This is likely to be because older drivers tend to be less likely to take risks such as driving too fast or while distracted -- compensating for any deterioration in health and driving performance, such as slower reaction times, the charity said.

"It's surprising that so many people appear to believe in age-specific such tests because all the data suggests drivers over 60 are, by and large, some of the safest on the road," commented Mark Tongue, company director at Select Car Leasing.

"Our own experience is that the age of the driver makes no difference to how competent they are behind the wheel."