UK: The number of drivers age 70 or older is now rising by more than 10,000 a month and the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) is calling for the government, medical professionals and assessment providers to come together to address the needs of this generation of motorists.

The call comes in light of figures showing for the first time there are now more than 4.34 million licence holders over 70 on our roads; 320,000 more than three years ago – an increase of 11% from 3.9 million in 2012 (reference 1/2).

The 323,631 increase in the past 31 months amounts to an average additional increase of 10,440 drivers age 70 and over on UK roads per month.

Over 80s broke the one million number last year and increased by over 100,000 since then; a rise of 10% to 1.17 million (reference 1/2).

There are more than 11,000 more licence holders in their 90s compared to three years ago, an increase of 16%, while there are now 232 licence holders over 100, a rise of 70 on three years ago.

Britain’s oldest licence holder in 2015 is 107, while in 2012 it was 106.

What’s more, projections have shown those numbers could almost double in around 20 years.

Current government data shows that there were five million people in the UK aged 75 and over in 2012; this is projected to rise to 5.5 million in 2017; 6.6 million in 2022; 7.7 million in 2027; 8.5 million in 2032 and 9.5 million in 2037 (reference 3).

Sarah Sillars, IAM chief executive officer, said:

“People are living longer and therefore there are many more drivers on the roads that are past retirement age. We want these drivers to enjoy their motoring for as long as possible, so we want some thought and resources to go into how we can allow this to happen.”

IAM research shows that the most common factors in a road accident involving a person over 70 were: failing to judge the other person’s path or speed, poor turn-in or manoeuvre, losing control, illness or disability, dazzling sun; and nervousness, anxiety or panic.

It added those factors were typical of deteriorating physical and cognitive functioning.

However figures show that older drivers are proven to be the safest on the roads. Previous analysis by the IAM found that older drivers are involved in a smaller number of injury accidents than drivers under the age of 60.

The IAM is calling for the following:

  • A government action plan for older drivers.
  • More car manufacturers considering older drivers in vehicle design.
  • Better information for older drivers and their families.
  • Online self-assessment tools for older drivers.
  • Wider availability of voluntary on-road driving assessments.
  • Better partnership working at a local level.