The report in todays Daily Mail which tells the story of a 87 year old driver who killed a scooter users whilst driving with cataracts once again raises the often difficult and thorny subject of ensuring fitness to drive in older age.
This very subject was addressed in the RAC Foundation’s report ‘Maintaining Safe Mobility for the Ageing Population’ published earlier this year which highlights the importance of eye-checks for this group. Given that the over 70s receive free eye tests it may now be the right time for the licensing authorities to require satisfactory eye tests results as a condition of relicensing, especially given that there are a number of European Directives (2006/126/EC and 2009/113/EC) which will impact on this area.
In the UK the approach to older drivers’ licensing is one of self-certification. From the age of 70 drivers are required to declare their eyesight and other medical conditions are such that they can continue to drive safely. Whilst some may relinquish car keys at the expense of their mobility, there will be others who will continue to drive when they are incapable of doing so safely. As eyesight is the most important facet for safe driving, regardless of age, new eye test requirements certainly deserve consideration.