The IAM has re-launched an initiative to encourage older drivers, who are statistically the safest on the roads, to get their skills checked out to allow them many more years of happy motoring.
Older drivers have been proved to be significantly safer than their younger counterparts. Last autumn a Freedom of Information request by the IAM showed while 36,001 people between 20 and 30 were disqualified from driving for any reason in the previous 12 months; 3,874 in their 60s were; 1,012 in their 70s were and just 168 in their 80s were.
Also, a report from the Association of Chief Police Officers (ACPO) from their Christmas 2014 anti-drink drive campaign showed the drink-drive failure rate for those under 25 was nearly double that of those over 25.
Government figures show younger people are far more likely to be involved in a serious or fatal accident than older people. In the past five years (2009-13) there were 1,037 people under 24 killed and 120,958 injured on UK roads as drivers and riders.
Despite the statistics showing they are the safest drivers on the roads; many older motorists can lose confidence as our roads get busier. To help them with this, the IAM is highlighting its Mature Drivers Assessment (MDA) through a regional test campaign following the successful launch of the initiative in June 2014.
The campaign, which will be running over the next four weeks across Brighton and Hove, Eastbourne, Rother and Worthing, enables senior drivers to take a 60 minute drive in the comfort of their own car with an IAM approved assessor who will offer an impartial second opinion about their driving.
With over four million full licence holders in Great Britain over the age of 70 and over one million over the age of 80, mature drivers represent a growing segment of licensed drivers.
Many of them, however, choose to give up too early because they simply believe they are too old to continue. The MDA regional test campaign works to shift this perception and give older drivers the opportunity to gain that extra bit of reassurance behind the wheel.
Evaluation of the MDA shows it has helped older drivers gain back their confidence in a number of ways (5) – 36 per cent of 558 participants took the assessment because their reaction times were decreasing and wanted to get their driving back up to standard, while 29 per cent wanted the reassurance that their driving was still ok. All 558 participants stated that they were pleased to have completed the assessment.
The IAM’s chief executive Sarah Sillars said: “Practical campaigns are needed to help keep all road users safe, and the MDA serves to keep older drivers driving for as long as it is safe to do so.
“In March 2014, IAM research showed that 42 per cent of the population is worried about an elderly relative driving, but are unlikely to take any action. The regional test campaign, as such, endeavours to reach out to elderly drivers and their families in the Sussex area and get them involved in the scheme that helps them drive with confidence.
“The car offers older drivers the prospect of sustained safe mobility for many more years to come so an IAM MDA could be one of the best investments you ever make.”
For further details about the MDA, which costs £49 per person please visit their website.