Almost 200 centenarians still drive legally on UK roads - but are they safe?

 

There are 191 people aged 100 or over who are still legally allowed to drive on UK roads, according to figures published today.

The RAC Foundation said the UK’s oldest licence-holder was an 107-year-old woman and also reported that the number of drivers over 70 had exceeded four million for the first time. The oldest man with a licence is 106.

The figures were issued as the research charity Rica published a guide for older motorists to help them decide whether they are still fit to drive. Studies in the US and Australia have found that while one in 10 elderly drivers should not be on the road, about a third give up driving too early.

In the UK, motorists have to declare whether or not they are fit to drive at the age of 70 and then every three years, but do not need to take a driving test or have a medical examination. Professor Stephen Glaister, director of the RAC Foundation, said all drivers should “regularly consider their fitness to drive”, but added that “matters come to a head when we reach 70”.

“In general, older drivers have an enviable safety record, but it is clear that faced with this critical yes-or-no decision, many motorists simply do not have a realistic view of their capabilities,” he said. “For those reliant on a car, giving up driving will have a huge impact on their ability to live an active life, so it is important that they get all the help and support to make the right decision at the right time.”

The RAC Foundation analysed data from the Driving and Vehicle Licensing Agency and found that 4,018,900 drivers aged 70 or over had a valid driving licence. In November last year, that figure was 3.9 million.

 The number will rise sharply over the next decades and the number of centenarians is expected to soar. In 2010, the Government predicted that 17 per cent of the UK population – about 10 million people – would live to be 100. The Rica guide, called Driving Safely for Life, gives advice on how to continue driving later in life, the law and alternatives forms of transport.

Les Hale of Gloucestershire, who turned 100 in July, told The Independent he was still a good driver and was impressed that 191 fellow centenarians were still able to drive. “That’s pretty good, isn’t it?” he said.

In March this year, the Association of British Insurers announced a new agreement to improve access to motor insurance “regardless of age”.

A Department for Transport spokesman stressed that drivers over 70 should “tell the DVLA about any conditions which might affect their driving”. He added: “Most older drivers are aware of their limitations and manage their driving accordingly.”

Case study: ‘A lot of people think I’m too  old to drive’

Centenarian Les Hale has been driving for 70 years and reckons he is still “pretty good” behind the wheel. The former coach driver, who turned 100 in July, accrued just two motoring convictions over all those years: a speeding offence about 30 years ago and another for obstructing the road.

“I enjoy driving… I’m pretty good,” he said. However Mr Hale, of Lydbrook, Gloucestershire, said he was “thinking about packing up now”.

“I think I’ve had enough [of driving]. Recently I haven’t been too well… I had to go into hospital and I wasn’t too fit. I’ve improved since,” he said.

The insurance premium for his two-door Ford Escort has also risen from “£100 and something” when he was about 90 to nearly £400.

Mr Hale said he got the impression that many thought he was too old to drive. “A lot of people do think that. When I was in hospital, one of the nurses said to me, ‘I think you ought to think about packing up driving’. I didn’t think much of that.”

News
people
Arts and Entertainment
'New Tricks' star Dennis Waterman is departing from the show after he completes filming on two more episodes
tvOnly remaining original cast-member to leave crime series
Sport
premier leagueManchester City vs Chelsea match report from the Etihad Stadium
Sport
Esteban Cambiasso makes it 3-3
premier league
PROMOTED VIDEO
Sport
Mario Balotelli celebrates his first Liverpool goal
premier leagueLiverpool striker expressed his opinion about the 5-3 thriller with Leicester - then this happened
News
people'I hated him during those times'
News
Britain's shadow chancellor Ed Balls (L) challenges reporter Rob Merrick for the ball during the Labour Party versus the media soccer match,
peopleReporter left bleeding after tackle from shadow Chancellor in annual political football match
Arts and Entertainment
Female fans want more explicit male sex in Game of Thrones, George R R Martin says
tvSpoiler warning: Star of George RR Martin's hit series says viewers have 'not seen the last' of him/her
News
i100
News
Dame Vivienne Westwood has been raging pretty much all of her life
peopleFirst memoir extracts show she 'felt pressured' into going out with the Sex Pistols manager
Arts and Entertainment
Lauryn Hill performing at the O2 Brixton Academy last night
musicSinger was more than 90 minutes late
Sport
Lewis Hamilton in action during the Singapore Grand Prix
Formula OneNico Rosberg retires after 14 laps
News
i100
News
Rumer was diagnosed with bipolarity, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder: 'I was convinced it was a misdiagnosis'
peopleHer debut album caused her post-traumatic stress - how will she cope as she releases her third record?
Arts and Entertainment
tvReview: 'Time Heist' sees a darker side to Peter Capaldi's Doctor
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Head of Marketing and Communications - London - up to £80,000

    £70000 - £80000 per annum: Ashdown Group: Group Head of Marketing and Communic...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: Level 3 Nursery Nurse required for ...

    Nursery Nurse

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: L3 Nursery Nurses urgently required...

    SEN Teaching Assistant

    Negotiable: Randstad Education Manchester: We have a number of schools based S...

    Day In a Page

    Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

    Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

    Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
    Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

    Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

    The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
    The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

    Scrambled eggs and LSD

    Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
    'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

    'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

    Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
    Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

    New leading ladies of dance fight back

    How female vocalists are now writing their own hits
    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam