More than a million pensioner motorists are risking prosecution and the safety of other road users by failing to disclose serious medical conditions.
New research from Direct Line Car Insurance reveals almost three in ten older motorists have conditions like visual impairments and heart trouble that must be disclosed to the DVLA. Yet almost half failed to tell the DVLA about their condition.
And 57 per cent of over 65-year-olds who failed to disclose did it because they don’t feel their condition affects their driving.
While the insurer’s study raises concerns about the number of older motorists that could be driving without a valid licence, they are by no means alone. Across the UK as a whole, a quarter of drivers across the UK have ‘notifiable conditions’ but the research revealed one in ten have not disclosed them to the DVLA.
Gus Park, director of motor at Direct Line, said: “Regardless of age, drivers that have a notifiable or worsening medical condition or disability must disclose this to the DVLA and also to their insurer to stay within the law. Even those who feel their physical status won’t affect their driving must still disclose their condition, as failing to do so means they risk a hefty fine and even prosecution if they have an accident.
“The issue of failing to disclose medical conditions is particularly prevalent amongst older motorists but the rules are the same regardless of age, experience or the severity of a medical issue.
“We’re urging anyone that thinks they may have a condition or a disability they need to disclose to contact the DVLA and their insurer as they risk invalidating their licence and insurance if they don’t.”
The study looked also found that physical disabilities, which affect a tenth of older drivers, are only disclosed half of the time. See www.gov.uk/health-conditions-and-driving for more information.
The Royal Society for the prevention of Accidents has launched a website to help older people to stay safe on the roads.
www.olderdrivers.org.uk has been set up to provide advice and information for older drivers in a bid to help them to drive safely for longer.
It gives tips on how people can update their driving skills to maintain their freedom and independence on the road.
Kevin Clinton, RoSPA’s head of road safety, said: “The aim of the website is to help older people to continue to drive for as long as they are safe to do so, and to provide advice on making the decision to retire from driving. ”