Elderly Driving – Legal Requirements and Checks you Need to Know

Many senior citizens continue driving up into their eighties and beyond. Driving can give elderly people more freedom to get around on their own, and they often experience no problems when behind the wheel.

However, if your elderly parent or relative still drives, there are a few issues that you should be aware of, including legal requirements that must be complied with. Here’s a guide to keep you and your elderly relative up to date.

When Should Your Relative Stop Driving?

There is no legal age in the UK after which drivers have to give up their driving licences. Instead, the decision is often made by the driver when they feel they are unable to drive safely.

But as long as your elderly relative does not have any medical conditions that prevent them from driving, they can continue driving as long as they are comfortable doing so.

The only requirement is that after your relative turns 70, they must renew their licence once every three years. They can renew their licence for free at Gov.uk at this link, and for this they will require their Government Gateway ID.

Medical Conditions and Driving

As your relative gets older, they may develop medical conditions that affect their driving ability. Their GP can make recommendations if they feel that your relative’s driving could be affected by a medical condition.

If your relative has a medical condition that affects their driving, they must also inform the DVLA.

Some prescription medications can also affect driving by causing dizziness or affecting concentration. Even some over-the-counter medicines can affect driving, and your relative’s GP will be able to advise them on when they should not be driving.

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Poor Eyesight and Driving

The government has requirements for eyesight when it comes to driving, and you can read about these at the Gov.uk website.

The legal requirements are that they can read a number place from 20 metres and have visual acuity of decimal 0.5 or more.

Your relative may require glasses to drive, and this is fine. However, in this case they must wear them every time that they drive.

Eyesight can deteriorate over time without your relative being particularly aware of it, and this is why it is so important to get regular eye tests. Certain conditions can also affect eyesight, including diabetes and glaucoma.

Safety Is Paramount

If your relative has an accident on the road and their health was a factor, prosecution is a serious possibility. Another risk is that their insurance may not cover them.

If you suspect that your relative’s driving skills are worsening, it may be time to step in. They may deny that their driving is suffering, in which case you may want to encourage them to see their GP for professional advice.

Another thing you may want to arrange is an assessment from a driving instructor. They can provide your relative with a confidential assessment so that they get a professional opinion of their driving.

Always look out for signs that your relative’s driving is worsening, and make sure you do not ignore these. While many elderly people continue driving without any problems for many years, this should only be the case where driving does not present any risks.

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