A recent accident (so far cause unknown) involved a double-decker bus crashing into a supermarket in Coventry resulting in two dead and many injured. Although no blame has been allocated the fact that the driver was 77 years old seems to be vital to any investigations.
However, the release of new figures show that 9,000 people are licensed to drive buses over the age of 70, including two 90 year olds and about 330 in their eighties.
There is no maximum age limit for drivers who pass an over 65 medical and road safety campaigners are calling for regulations to be tightened.
The coach industry also has an ageing workforce with 58% of their drivers over 50.
These figures do not show any link between safety and age and in general older drivers are more cautious than the young, having better judgement and more experience.
The RAC foundation has commented that older drivers have a good safety record and statistically they have fewer accidents and take fewer risks.
Recent television programmes showing older drivers have highlighted the importance of being able to carry on driving and like with most of life age is not nor should be a restriction on continuing with this type of activity.
In March an ITV documentary about trainees learning to drive a double decker bus in London showed how difficult it is to manoeuvre the vehicle through congested streets and obviously, once a driver has passed all the rigorous tests, it does not make sense for the bus company to retire him or her solely on the basis of age.
Because bus drivers, like airline pilots, have the safety of their passengers as paramount it is important that all possible tests are carried out to ensure the driver is fit for the job. But often it is something out of their control that will precipitate an accident.
We are interested to get your views on this topic and examining the problems of driving as we get older.
- Do you drive and would you consider stopping for reasons of age?
- Have you had to stop through illness or disability?
- Do you feel your reactions and reflexes have slowed down with age?
- Do you think it would be helpful to have to take another driving test at a certain age?
We look forward to hearing from you.