Drivers may have to declare that they are medically fit to be on the road every ten years, according to proposals from the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency.

Motorists would be able to choose to take the test but risked a criminal record if they were later found to fall short of standards, it was reported.

The idea would be for drivers to declare themselves fit to drive every decade, with the option of submitting themselves to tests against new minimum physical and mental requirements. The standards would be issued by the agency and are likely to cover eyesight and reaction times.

The proposals are set to be unveiled in the new year, according to The Daily Telegraph, although a Department for Transport official described the report as "speculation".

However, the department has confirmed that it intends to launch a consultation next year into ways to improve road safety next year, amid concern about the growing numbers of elderly and frail drivers.

A department spokesman said: "Increasing car use, changes in the population's health and medical advances all mean that the demands on the health and driver licensing system are very different to those of 30 years ago, when it was established.

"We are considering these issues carefully and intend to consult on how we can improve the service we offer drivers," he said.