Revoked driving licence on medical grounds

Number of over-70s with driving licences revoked on medical grounds up 142% in a decade

  • Some 22,453 motorists 70+ had licences revoked in 2018 – up from 9,265 in 2010
  • Number of licences taken away for medical reasons has grown across all ages
  • For all ages, revoked licences increased 117% in the comparison over eight years
  • Road safety groups say more needs to be done to take unsafe drivers off the road
  • The issue became headline news following Prince Philip’s crash outside the Queen’s private home in Sandringham

The number of motorists over the age of 70 having licences revoked for medical reasons has soared, according to new statistics.

Almost 22,500 elderly drivers had their licences taken away last year – which is 142 per cent higher than the number rescinded on medical grounds in 2010.

That’s according to figures obtained from the Driver and Vehicle Licencing Agency following a Freedom.

It comes after Prince Philip’s crash near the Queen’s private home at Sandringham in Norfolk earlier in the year.

The DVLA revoked just 9,265 from motorists over 70 years of age in 2010. Last year, it took licences away from 22,453 drivers in this age bracket.

The statistics were requested following growing concern for the number of elderly individuals still driving today.

The subject was thrown into the limelight earlier this year when Prince Philip was involved in a collision in his Land Rover Freelander in January, causing injury to two occupants in a Kia driving near the Queen’s residence in Norfolk.

Number of licences revoked on medical grounds in 2018 compared to 2010

17-19 years old: 1,294 licences revoked – 93% increase

20-29 years old: 5,198 licences revoked – 102% increase

30-39 years old: 6,621 licences revoked – 76% increase

40-49 years old: 8,057 licences revoked – 74% increase

50-59 years old: 9,416 licences revoked – 151% increase

60-69 years old: 8,323 licences revoked – 128% increase

70-79 years old: 12,360 licences revoked – 127% increase

80+ years old: 10,093 licences revoked – 163% increase

Source: DVLA figures

Motoring groups and road safety charities have been calling for stricter measures for older drivers to stay on the road following Prince Philips crash earlier this year

DVLA records show that 5.3 million individuals over 70 currently hold a driving licence – which represents around two thirds of the elderly populations.

In the mid-1990s, just 39 per cent in this age range were still on the road.

Under current rules, driving licences expire when motorists reach 70.

From then on they have to be renewed every three years. 

Drivers are responsible for declaring that their eyesight meets legal standards and flag up other relevant medical conditions that might result in them not being safe at the wheel. 

However, there are no compulsory assessments required for these motorists to retain their licences. 

Safety groups have called for tighter restrictions on these elderly drivers.

A spokesperson for road safety charity Brake stated that regulation around drivers’ fitness to drive should be ‘more rigorously enforced’.

This could include compulsory eyesight tests and checks of medical records before the DVLA releases licences back to older motorists.

AA president Edmund King echoed calls for tougher measures, calling for evidence of regular eye tests for elderly drivers and stricter guidance from GPs.

However, Caroline Abrahams, the charity director for Age UK, said elderly drivers are less likely to be involved in accidents than younger motorists and the threat of taking their licences away could hamper their quality of life.

The number of driving licences revoked from motorists over the age of 70 rose 152% between 2010 and last year. Licences taken away from drivers of all ages on medical grounds were up 117% over the same period

‘For many older people, driving is crucial to maintaining independence so it’s important that they should not be prevented from getting behind the wheel by their age alone,’ Abrahams told the Times. 

Drivers legally need to notify the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency if they’ve suffered from strokes, epilepsy or visual impairment before being deemed fit to take control of a car on British roads.

However, there are some conditions in particular that many people don’t know they need to tell the DVLA about before hitting the road – including deja vu and eating disorders.

You can see the full list of medical conditions you need to notify the DVLA about having if it has an impact on your capacity to drive a vehicle, 

The Department for Transport said the issue of older drivers would be addressed in a ‘refreshed road safety statement’ that was due to be published later this year.