One in five drivers now aged over 65

One in five drivers in the UK, more than seven million, are over the age of 65.

One in five drivers in the UK, more than seven million, are over the age of 65. - Credit: PA

We're constantly being told that more mature citizens are making up an increasing proportion of the population, and nowhere is this more obvious than on our roads.

According to road safety charity the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM), there are now more than seven million drivers over the age of 65 in the UK.

The figures come from the latest driving licence data published by the DVLA and show that the number of drivers over 65 reached 7,191,192 in November – 19% of all drivers with full driving licences.

The data also shows that there are 4,068,498 drivers over the age of 70 1,101,779 drivers over 80 and 195 drivers over 100 years old.

Of the drivers over 65, 367,711 or 5% have points on their licence. For drivers over 70 the figure is 195, 773 or 5% with points and 35,498 or 3% of drivers over 80 have points.

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This compares favourably with middle-aged drivers. The age group most likely to have points on their licence is 42-year-olds. Of the 816,915 licence-holders in that group, 82,929 or 10% have points.

For younger drivers the figures are 3,339,826 licence-holders, 270,817 with points or 8%.

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The IAM claims these figures support research that shows older drivers are safer than many others. Where older drivers have slower reaction times, they use their experience on the road to compensate by driving at slower speeds on all occasions and allowing more space between them and other road users.

IAM chief executive Simon Best said: 'In 20 years time, one in 10 people will be over 80 years old. 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 numbers increase.

'Easy access to driving assessments, better advice from the medical profession and car and road designs that mitigate the effects of ageing should all be top in 2014.

'The overarching policy aim should be to keep people independent and driving safer for as long as possible.'

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