Older Drivers

Older Drivers

Key Facts:

  • In Europe, the number of people aged over 65 is projected to double between 2010 and 2050 (Lanzieri, 2011).

  • According to National Travel Survey data, the percentage of people aged 70+ holding a full car driving licence has increased from 38% in 1995/97 to 58% in 2012. This increase is particularly notable for women, as the number of female licence holders aged 70+ has doubled, from 21% in 1995/97 to 42% in 2012 (Department for Transport, 2013b).

  • Ageing brings a number of sensory, psychomotor and cognitive changes that may impact driving performance and safety.

  • In order to increase safety for older drivers, many countries have introduced some form of age-related controls for relicensing procedures. However, to date, there is no conclusive evidence that age-related controls are effective at reducing risk for older drivers.

  • Mobility is important for sustained independence and well-being (Whelan, Langford, Oxley, Koppel & Charlton 2006; Box, Gandolfi & Mitchell, 2010) and, unsurprisingly, imposed driving cessation may also lead to negative psychological consequences.

  • Of driver casualties in the UK aged 70 and over who were involved in a KSI road traffic accident, 13% were killed. The corresponding figures for male and female drivers of this age group were 15% and 12%, respectively. This fatality rate is the highest for all age groups (RRCGB, DfT, 2017).

  • Although older drivers are overrepresented in deaths following a car crash, this is mostly due to increased fragility.

  • In fact, accident involvement for older drivers is generally low. If the rate of slight injury is used as a proxy for accident involvement it can be suggested that, when compared with young and middle age groups, accident involvement is lowest for drivers aged 60-79, and only increases by 20% for drivers 80 and older (Mitchell, 2013).

  • Although being older presents potential risks to driving, research has shown that older drivers are good at compensating for their deficits, and tend to adopt safer attitudes toward driving and reduce their exposure to difficult driving environments.

  • Research has identified potential interventions to help minimise the risk to older drivers. These include: cognitive training, in vehicle design and Intelligent Transport Systems.


  • Date Added: 03 Apr 2012, 08:08 AM
  • Last Update: 11 Dec 2017, 05:27 PM