Compulsory re-testing for older drivers

Discussion in 'Dementia-related news and campaigns' started by DMac, Nov 12, 2015.

  1. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    537
    Female
    Surrey, UK
    Not sure if I'm allowed to share campaigns on this forum, but this one touched my heart.

    Ben Brooks-Dutton is campaigning for compulsory re-testing for older drivers, after his wife, Desreen, was killed by an 85-year-old driver who mounted the pavement. You may have seen Ben on BBC Breakfast this morning, speaking about the campaign. The campaign itself is not directly related to dementia, but I'm sure many members of this forum will recognise the issue.

    It chimes with me because I've recently stopped my mum-in-law from driving. My mum-in-law has Alzheimer's, which has robbed her not only of her driving skills, but her perception of her abilities. She was absolutely convinced she was still fit to drive, even when getting lost on short, familiar journeys, and forgetting how to operate indicators, wipers, lights etc. To ask someone like my mum-in-law to declare herself fit to drive, without any independent testing, is a nonsense. To force me in a position of breaking her trust (not to mention the law) by disabling her car, because there was NO OTHER WAY to protect her and others, is an absolute travesty. Suffice to say, I'm just so grateful that it wasn't her who killed Desreen. It so easily might have been.

    A link to the petition can be found here:


    https://www.change.org/p/secretary-of-state-for-transport-introduce-compulsory-age-appropriate-retesting-every-3-years-once-a-driver-turns-70?recruiter=424927118&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink
     
  2. AlsoConfused

    AlsoConfused Registered User

    Sep 17, 2010
    1,958
    I'd support the campaign ... but I also think everyone should be re-tested / health-checked at 5 year intervals throughout their driving careers as a matter of routine, it might save hundreds of lives.
     
  3. jimbo 111

    jimbo 111 Registered User

    Jan 23, 2009
    5,078
    North Bucks
    I have mixed feelings about campaigns on testing for older drivers
    I naturally dread the thought that anyone ,young or old ,could cause death or injury by their driving.
    I am 86 years old and due to the fact that I am totally blind in my left eye and have glaucoma in my right eye , I have to take a DVLA residual eye test every year , fortunately up to date I have always passed
    When people look askance at me I ask the question
    I know my vision is impaired but I know I have passed the stringent DVLA eye test . How many of you have had a stringent eye test every year ?????
    We are often blamed for being to slow at junctions / roundabouts etc , but how many times do I get cars screaming past at ridiculous speeds
    But to stick more to the point of this thread
    Over the age of 70 your licence has to be renewed every three years ,
    People like myself , who are registered with the DVLA Medical Records receive a notice to report for a medical/visual test
    The normal form for applying for a renewal only asks the driver if they have any medical complaints .
    I know of many people who just sign the form without considering the obligation to be honest with their replies
    It would be far more sensible to ensure that everyone over 70 has to get a doctors confirmation that they are not suffering from any disability (physical or mental )that would that would impair their driving ability
    I don’t know how good my driving skills are , like most sensible ‘oldies’
    I do not drive after dark , or long distances , I try to avoid busy junctions at peak times
    I value the independence I get in getting to doctors , hospital appointments ,short trips into town ,etc and dread the thought of losing my licence
    Perhaps it may sound cynical , but I often wonder how many of those who seem to think that older people are incompetent to drive , think seriously about their own shortcomings when driving
    jimbo
     
  4. reedysue

    reedysue Registered User

    Nov 4, 2014
    4,563
    Scotland
    Driving instructors are re-tested every 2-4 years so why not ordinary drivers?
     
  5. Quizbunny

    Quizbunny Registered User

    Nov 20, 2011
    81
    I have been driving for 38 years and have always considered myself a "good" driver. I also am aware that my reaction times are slower than they once were, and I assume this trend will likely continue. I would not object to being retested once I have turned 70, and I don't see why anyone else should either. Our roads are becoming increasingly congested and only those who are safe to drive should do so. A car is a deadly weapon in the wrong hands and there should be robust measures in place to ensure that someone who passed their test 50 years before is still capable.
     
  6. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    #6 Countryboy, Nov 13, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
    Formula One world champion obviously with very quick reactions and superb driving ability

    The 30-year-old was driving his Pagani Zonda supercar around the streets of Monte Carlo at 3.30 on Tuesday morning when he collided with three parked cars. He was found by police not to have been drinking and was unhurt.

    A spokesman for Monaco’s Palais de Justice said: “Mr Hamilton’s foot slipped on the brake and clutch pedals and his vehicle struck three parked cars. He was tested for alcohol but the result was negative.”

    this proves anyone can have an accident or make a mistake you don’t have to be Old or have dementia

    There were 10,974 accidents involving drivers over the age of 70 in 2011, says the DfT. That compares with 11,946 accidents involving 17-to-19-year-old drivers and 24,007 accidents involving 20-to-24-year-old drivers. Its statistics do not account for who caused the accident.

    in one word " Unlucky"

    Yes I agree every one should be tested possibly every 10 years up to age of 65 and every 3 years after that , I passed my driving assessment 18 months ago and will be happy to be tested again at any time
     
  7. 1mindy

    1mindy Registered User

    Jul 21, 2015
    539
    Female
    Shropshire
    This too is one I have thought long and hard about as my OH has not had his licence renewed this year he's 69 and in the early stages. As he rightly says there are people on the road who are worse than him, but that is no reaso n for him to be driving. We were honest on his application , he has had yearly applications for 4 years, again because we were honest. He said he only went short familiar journeys, but the thing is he could have gone anywhere if he still had a licence. He didn't go fast ,no but he was much too slow. He was careful at junctions ,yes but too slow in making a decision. I know that we all have slower reactions as we age,I'm not as sharp at 57 as my 24 y/O son . We have to draw the line all be it an arbitrary line. I don't think it is too much to have tests on a regular basis after 70, it would take many off the roads. Yes younger drivers are sometimes reckless and take risks, but they have been through the test recently. I have already signed the petition, but think families of unsafe older drivers need to stand up and ensure they do what they can to get their relatives off the road.
     
  8. Pickles53

    Pickles53 Registered User

    Feb 25, 2014
    2,482
    Radcliffe on Trent
    I agree with the principle of compulsory re-testing or reporting by GPs, if only because I've read several threads where a family member has tried to get the GP to report someone to the DVLA and the GP has bee unwilling to do so.
     
  9. MrsTerryN

    MrsTerryN Registered User

    Dec 17, 2012
    773
    I very much agree. Mum lost her license by the police . She was driving erratically and someone called the police.
    We have had some severe accidents from elderly drivers. I was so very glad mum had her license revoked
     
  10. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    A medical condition is not a good enough reasons to take away someone driving licence of course there are exceptions like being blind , Cars can be adapted for a persons disability and a hundreds of people with dementia car drive perfectly I don't understand with all the disabilities people have dementia are treated so badly we have our rights to a fair trail we are not law breakers if we informed dvla
     
  11. jugglingmum

    jugglingmum Registered User

    Jan 5, 2014
    4,914
    Female
    Chester
    That is the crux of it - many sufferers of dementia do not think there is anything wrong with them and don't see why they should inform the DVLA and can't comprehend there is a problem with their driving. You are an exception.

    Sufferers hide the dementia well in public and refuse to accept any help. YOu only have to read this forum to see weekly new members trying to get loved ones to accept help who refuse.

    I realised in Dec 2013 my mum had dementia, when she got lost driving to visit me on a 200 mile journey. She got lots 60 miles of course and the police were called because she was so confused and agitated and then they discovered she had no insurance. She could easily have driven the wrong way down a motorway/dual carriageway and with the heavy christmas traffic caused a major pile up. She did comment she wouldn't have driven the wrong way, which I actually think means she nearly did.

    With hindsight she had had dementia for at least 4 but more likely 8 years. She shouldn't have been driving for at least 2 years before hand. My mum was aware she had memory problems but put up such a good front in public that without knowledge and experience of dementia no one realised anything was wrong.

    When the problems surfaced with my mum I had sleepness nights because I had let my mum drive my kids in her car, the dreams I had were so vivid I woke up in the middle of them.

    By contrast my MIL who is 88 has had her licence suspended a couple of times due to a heart condition(pacemaker now fitted). She has not got dementia and is still competent to drive. She is however aware of her limitations and aware of the risks if she drove with these conditions and able to understand the reasons for reporting things to the DVLA.

    My mum (then 83) was unable to understand why she couldn't drive, unable to understand that she no longer was insured, unable to understand that she had a condition that needed to be reported to DVLA and if she had been told she couldn't drive by DVLA she would have ignored it and carried on anyway.

    A significant amount of people with dementia do not have the ability to understand that they do not have the capability to drive and therefore this is why they need to be tested. The nature of the illness robs them of the ability to understand and in my case I removed my mum's car keys.

    Tony - I do support you being able to drive, and if my mum had been diagnosed earlier, I would have supported her driving in the early stages. Sadly at the point she became a danger to herself and others was the point she was no longer able to comprehend this and so this is why the testing is needed, the nature of dementia.
     
  12. DMac

    DMac Registered User

    Jul 18, 2015
    537
    Female
    Surrey, UK
    Thank you, Jugglingmum, for your eloquent reply and fine examples that illustrate so well why this change in the law is needed now. One part of your response, quoted above, is so pertinent that it bears repeating. I do hope someone influential reads this comment.

    "A significant amount of people with dementia do not have the ability to understand that they do not have the capability to drive and therefore this is why they need to be tested."
     
  13. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    #13 Countryboy, Nov 13, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 13, 2015
     
  14. BR_ANA

    BR_ANA Registered User

    Jun 27, 2012
    1,085
    Brazil
     
  15. garnuft

    garnuft Registered User

    Sep 7, 2012
    6,589
    Tony, as with most things in life, one should not think one's own experience is the whole experience.


    Sent from my iPhone using Talking Point
     
  16. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    #16 Countryboy, Nov 15, 2015
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2015
    great sentiments garnuft and I admire you for that , but I have learnt that through life and possibly the hard way that if you don’t look after yourself who will !!!! and let’s face No one know me or what I want or think better than me plus its only my experience of having dementia for 16 years i can talk about myself and how i deal with dementia and with my Aricept no problem keep dancing on and life to short to worry about what others are doing anyway
     
  17. tre

    tre Registered User

    Sep 23, 2008
    1,353
    Herts
    My dad who does not have dementia but has severly crippled hands continued to drive for some years , luckily without incident, but no way could he have reacted quickly if say a child had strayed into the road. He was living in rural Devon at the time and because he also could not walk very far and public transport was poor he continued to certify himself as fit to drive. He lived a twenty mile round trip from the nearest bank or supermarket.
    I think there is agreat temptation to say you are fit to drive when you are in this sort of situation. Dad did in the end give up and now lives near me in a town where he can access everything on his mobility scooter.
    I have a friend locally, again not with dementia, also living in a rural location, with health issues who also would be unable to react to a sudden emergency. I would welcome a retest for everybody and be quite happy to do this myself.
    My husband, who has a rare dementia, pca, stopped driving a couple of years prior to diagnosis, as he felt something was not right, but then it was easier for him as he had me to drive him and we are quite well served by trains and buses here.
    I do not understand why a further test would be a problem as I am sure some people with a dementia diagnosis would still be safe to drive.
    Tre
     
  18. Countryboy

    Countryboy Registered User

    Mar 17, 2005
    1,396
    Male
    Cornwall
    Life carries an element of risk, can we carry out a risk assessment when riding on a bus , train, aircraft , going to a consort or football match unfortunately if we watch the news its obvious we can’t also other people driving, cycling , riding on horseback or walking are they all competent how can you carry out a risk assessment on them the problem we are not psychics we don’t know how safe we are on the roads there is danger everywhere from everyone !!
     
  19. nitram

    nitram Registered User

    Apr 6, 2011
    18,296
    Male
    North Manchester
    Post 6
    "...There were 10,974 accidents involving drivers over the age of 70 in 2011, says the DfT. That compares with 11,946 accidents involving 17-to-19-year-old drivers and 24,007 accidents involving 20-to-24-year-old drivers. Its statistics do not account for who caused the accident...."

    The statistics of who caused the accident are held by the insurance companies.

    Insurance companies use these statistics to adjust premiums because of inexperience, age, and/or occupation.

    The premiums for older people tend to be lower than those for younger ones.

    OK, I know 80 year olds do not generally go out every day in rush hour traffic and obtain minor but expensive damage to their vehicles, but if age alone meant 'not safe to drive' I think old people would soon see a rise in premiums.
     
  20. lin1

    lin1 Registered User

    Jan 14, 2010
    9,322
    Female
    East Kent
    We are all different.
    My dad 89 yrs no dementia drives and drives well, I happily get in the car with him.
    His reactions are swift. Only the other week two children on cycles shot out from a side road right in front of him without looking or stopping, he avoided them.

    However he knows I will tell him if I ever think it is time he stopped driving.

    Personally I think everyone should be retested every 5 yrs and new drivers after a year.
     

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