Comment: Keeping older motorists driving safely

Councillor Mark Shaw
Councillor Mark Shaw

Celebrated 19th century author Mark Twain once said ‘facts are stubborn, but statistics are more pliable’.

Well, when it comes to statistics about the involvement of drivers over 65 in serious collisions, the fact remains: they stubbornly refuse to be pliable.

In the five years from 2009 to 2013 the number of killed and seriously injured collisions involving drivers over 65 rose by almost 60% - from 27 in 2009 to 43 in 2013, and that’s where they’ve stayed.

I would love to see figures drop to zero, but how to reduce them in the future is the big challenge.

There’s no statutory refresher driving test for older drivers, although I’ve spoken with some who say there should be one at around 70-plus.
That’s a debate for the future... 
What about now? We don’t want to stop more mature motorists from driving.

Buckinghamshire is largely a rural county, and in many of our communities the car is important for such activities as shopping, medical appointments, and maintaining social networks that minimise the risk of isolation.

If we can keep motorists driving safely and confidently for longer, we will be helping to enrich community life as more people live to an older age.
In Buckinghamshire 16.8% of the population is aged 65+ (84,900) and this is predicted to increase to 21.7% (115,300) by 2025: more mature motorists to help drive more safely and confidently.

We care about this, which is why my colleagues in the Road Safety Team and I put our weight behind a county-wide campaign to encourage older drivers to take part in our Mature Driver Assessment Scheme. The hour-long assessments help keep driving skills and driver confidence in good condition.

More than 260 have taken them - the youngest at 61 and oldest at 94 - and many come back every so often, just to hone their driving skills. 
It’s worth the effort to save lives.

>>> More info: 01296 382416