Although only 10% of road users are over 65 years old, one of every 3 accidents involves an elderly person. These statistics open the debate on how old driving should be allowed.
The recent study “Over 65s at the wheel: Real danger or social myth?”, by the
Direct Line Foundation, in collaboration with Fesvial and Centro Zaragoza, affirms that elderly drivers are not a danger on the roads.
Moreover, its accident rate is four times lower than that of those under 25 years of age and less than half that of drivers between 35 and 44 years old. This happens because they respect speed limits more, they are not aggressive in driving and they accept their own limitations much better (auditory and visual, above all), which is why they travel fewer kilometers and avoid driving at night.
Currently, in Spain there is no age limit to be able to drive. The decision that an elderly person can drive or not rests with the psychotechnicians necessary for the renewal of driving licences.
Up to 65 years Driver’s license renewals are every 10 years. This period is reduced to 5 years for those drivers who exceed that age and becomes two years when they are over 70. Of course, it is always up to the psychotechnicians to be able to further reduce this periodicity, which can become annual. And in the case of professional drivers, the renewal of the driving license is every 5 years in all cases and every three from 65 years of age.
For its part, the actl Law on Traffic, Circulation of Motor Vehicles and Road Safety, in its article 13, also reaffirms and tells us that: “the driver must be able to control his vehicle at all times” but nothing is said about the maximum age to be able to drive. There are minimum age limitations for certain types of driving licenses as well as the age at which authorizations must be renewed to continue driving.
Since it is the psychotechnicians who evaluate the ability or not of a person to keep or withdraw their driving license, many voices propose that control over said tests be increased and even increase the level of demand for them.
However, it seems that limiting the age or making the psychotechnics more severe to remove more elderly people from driving licenses is not the solution. Many of the elderly involved in accidents were not drivers but pedestrians or bicyclists. In fact, heas modern bicycles with assisted pedaling are encouraging many older people to use this means of transport which, although it requires less physical effort thanks to its electrical assistance, requires good psychomotor conditions.