Not so fast or furious

THE number of car drivers over 80 has topped 1 million in the UK, according to data from the DVLA.

Nationally, the age gap between the youngest driving license holder and the oldest is 90 years.

For East Renfrewshire, this translates as 1,814 people, 80 and over, who have an up-to-date driving license. In Glasgow, that figure rises to 3,858.

But, despite what people may believe, there is safety in numbers as older drivers prove to be safer drivers.

The figures show that they are in fact much safer behind the wheel than their younger counterparts.

The rate of deaths and injuries in crashes among drivers over 80 is three times less than the rate for those aged 17 to 19.

In 2010, almost one young driver was killed or seriously injured per thousand license holders.

And the rate of deaths and serious injuries among car drivers aged 20 to 24 is 36.4 per cent more than the rate for drivers aged 80 or over.

Institute of Advanced Motorists chief executive Simon Best said: “Older people need their cars, which give them better mobility and access to more activities and services.

“Those who wish to continue driving beyond the age of 70 should only be prevented from doing so if there are compelling reasons.

“Rather than seeking to prevent older people from driving, we should make them more aware of the risks they face and offer them driving assessments to help them eliminate bad habits.

“Driving helps older people play a full and active part in society”.

The number of older drivers is set to rise even further as the Office of National Statistics predicts that there will be 8.7 million people over the age of 75 by 2033.

This will represent an increase of 81.1% of over 75-year-olds since 2008 — around 4.8 million people.