A third of motorists believe drivers should have to resit the driving test once they turn 60, according to a new study.
Thirty-five per cent of drivers questioned by Select Car Leasing backed the idea of a compulsory retest for the over-60s, although only six per cent of those already aged 65 or more supported the suggestion.
The news comes in the wake of the 97-year-old Duke of Edinburgh’s recent crash and reports from Japan that a “cognitive test” for drivers over 75 has reduced road casualties.
In the UK there is currently no age-related legal requirement to resit a driving test and no upper age limit on driving.
Drivers must renew their licence when they turn 70 and declare that they don’t have any medical condition that could affect their driving, but face no other test.
You can be prosecuted if you’re involved in an accident where an undeclared health condition may have been a factor, and your insurance could be affected.
Despite significant public backing for the suggestion, the Government insists it has no plan to introduce age-related retesting and motoring organisations aren’t in favour.
Luke Bosdet, a spokesman for the AA, said: “Rules around this have already been tightened with doctors in the UK granted greater power to intervene if they believe patients are a threat to other road-users in the UK.
“That is proportionate.”
Nick Lloyd, acting head of road safety at the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents added: “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.”
Mark Tongue, company director at Select Car Leasing, one of the UK’s largest vehicle specialists, 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.
“Our own experience is that the age of the driver makes no difference to how competent they are behind the wheel.”
In Japan, drivers aged 75 and over who reapply for their licence are required to undergo a cognitive test to assess their ability to drive.
According to the Japan Times, in the first year of the tests, almost 60,000 of the 2.1 million drivers tested were found to be at risk of dementia and nearly 1,900 had their licences suspended or cancelled. Previous data showed that the number of fatal crashes involving the over-75s dropped in the first six months of the testing regime to 294 from 328 a year earlier.