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One in five behind wheel is over 65

An older driver in a car17/1/14

By Ian Barnsley

Britain faces many challenges caused by its ageing population but the fact there are more mature drivers on the roads is good news for safety, according to a charity.

The Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) reports there are more than seven million people older than 65 on the nation's roads and in general they are safer drivers than those younger than them.

The government though must offer them more support to keep them independent and driving safely for as long as possible.

Mature drivers have less points on their licence

It draws on DVLA driving licence statistics that show there were 7,191,192 people over the age of 65 still motoring in November last year, making up nearly a fifth (19 per cent) of all licence holders.

The number of drivers over the ages of 70 and 80 was 4,068,498 and 1,101,779 respectively, while 195 people over the age of 100 still have their licences.

A 20th of motorists over the age of 65 (5 per cent) had points on their licences, while a similar share of those over the age of 70 (195,773) also had endorsements.

A total of 35,498 drivers who are 80 years of age or older have points, or 3 per cent.

Older drivers believed to be safer

The rates are low compared to middle-aged motorists.

Those who are 42 years old are the most likely to have had their licence endorsed.

Of a total of 816,915 42-year-old licence holders, a tenth have points (82,929).

Eight per cent of younger drivers had points, 270,817 out of 3,339,826.

The IAM believes older motorists are safer on the road than many other age groups of drivers.

Experience makes up for slower reaction times

Their reaction times may well be slower than those younger than them but their experience makes up for it.

Older drivers drive at slower speeds and leave more room between them and other road users.

"In twenty years time, one in 10 people will be over 80 years old," according to IAM chief executive Simon Best.

"Responding to an older population is a significant policy issue for government, health and transport agencies.

"A greater number of people will require help with their mobility and acting now can ensure the right support networks are in place as numbers increase," he said.

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