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Motoring: Alarm over elderly drivers

A leading safety group yesterday called for a review of the driver licensing system after recent alarming cases of elderly motorists travelling in the wrong direction on motorways.

Doctors should check older drivers more carefully before signing them as fit to carry on motoring after the age of 70, said the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents.

A pensioner died in a crash after driving the wrong way on the M11 in Essex on Thursday while an 87-year-old man survived after going 10 miles in the wrong direction on the M25 last week.

"The whole question of driver licensing needs to be addressed," Dave Rogers, the RoSPA's road safety adviser, said. He added: "Doctors [who are] asked to provide medical evidence of a driver's ability to continue on the road when they reach 70 should be aware of the moral responsibility they have. They must ensure that road safety considerations take preference to the doctor-patient relationship."

Mr Rogers said that the RoSPA advocated that regular health checks should be made on licence-holders which would ensure that those of advanced years were monitored more closely.

RoSPA is to debate the matter of licensing at a conference in Blackpool in March which is due to be opened by Baroness Hayman, the roads minister.