Driving as an older adult

Driving over the age of 70 can be crucial for maintaining independence, social links and attending medical appointments. In terms of a driving licence, once you reach 70, you are required to renew your licence every 3 years. It’s free to do this and if you fail to renew, you will be required to take your driving test again.

Paper licences issued before 1998 do not need updating until you reach 70 unless you have moved house or changed name. Driving otherwise than in accordance with a licence carries a maximum fine of  £1,000.00 and possibly 3 penalty points.

The AA estimate that by 2035 there will be 21 million older drivers on the road in the UK. The RAC says the UK’s oldest licensed driver is a 107-year-old woman, and there are 191 people over the age of 100 with a licence. They are currently among 4,018,900 people aged over 70 with full UK driving licences.

It may not be a surprise to learn that currently drivers over 60 have fewer crashes than younger age groups and there is no proof that driving as an older adult is dangerous.

However, it is still essential that you take all necessary steps to ensure you are doing everything you can to stay safe on the roads.

Make sure you have regular eyesight and hearing checks every year and that you wear the correct prescription. Have plenty of sleep and avoid distractions in the car such as changing the radio or talking on the phone.

Choosing the right car for your needs can also make a big difference. Those with larger mirrors, windows and doors as well as higher seats can all help the older driver. If you are fit to drive it is also important to keep on the roads so that you keep pace with changing traffic conditions. Be sure not to become out of practice, especially on the routes you frequently use.

Whilst legally there is no fixed age at which you must stop driving the majority of older adults will adjust their driving patterns by, for example, stopping driving at night or avoiding busier routes at specific times of the day. It is up to the individual to know when the time is right to give up their driving licence.

However, there are specific medical conditions in relation to which there may be a legal responsibility to inform the DVLA.

If your GP is of the opinion that you have a condition or are taking a prescription medication which means it is no longer safe for you to drive and you don’t accept his diagnosis or recommendation, then he/she can contact the DVLA directly and disclose your medical information to a confidential adviser. Your GP should inform you that they are going to do this. Medical conditions which may affect your ability to drive include:

  • Diabetes
  • Fainting
  • Heart conditions
  • Sleep apnoea
  • Epilepsy
  • Strokes
  • Glaucoma

To learn more about driving with a disability or medical condition, please click here https://www.gov.uk/driving-medical-conditions

For any legal advice or representation as an older driver, please call Kenway Miller Solicitors on 0800 4334 678 or visit www.motoringoffencelawyers.com