The views of this article are the perspective of the author and may not be reflective of Confessions of the Professions.
How Britain’s Changing Roads Are Affecting Older Drivers
Britain’s Roads are changing. In 50 years we have introduced the breathalyser, the speed camera, and several other implementations aimed to improve our driving experience and safety on the road – We have come a long way!
It is then shocking that research conducted by Rias have found that over 2 million UK drivers believe they would fail the modern driving test. Older drivers have a new set of challenges where 54% of drivers passes there driving test in the 1960’s.
The BBC, among others, has been speculating possible changes. A man whose wife was killed by an elderly driver in 2015 has started a popular petition calling for over 70’s to retake their driving test every three years.
In the meantime, new regulations are already to be expected. This includes revisions to the driving test, where certain manoeuvres are to be abolished, and there will be a higher use of satellite navigation. Furthermore, when drivers reach the age of 75 they must declare if they are fit enough to drive (this is going to be raised from 70).
More changes to the road include googles driverless cars which are expected to be heavily introduced in 2020. Upcoming connectivity systems for new cars are going to utilize new safety intelligence. Furthermore Environmental changes are to be expected with the introduction of more electric cars, and the use alternative fuels.
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BRITAIN’S CHANGING ROADS AND THE IMPACT ON OLDER DRIVERS
New research from insurance providers RIAS has revealed that more than 2 million of the UK’s older drivers believe they would fail the modern driving test.
The debate here is a tricky one. While the average older driver has 41 years of driving experience, they also face a different set of challenges with younger motorists.
54% of Britain’s older drivers passed their practical test sometime in the 1960s and 70s. With more cars on the roads than ever before, we take a look at how our highways have changed in the past half-century and consider the impact on Britain’s older motorists.
START – 1960
8 million license vehicles on Britain’s roads
220 billion passenger kilometers travelled
1963 The Worboys Report recommends radical changes to Britain’s road signs
1965 70 mph speed limit introduced on motorways. Kinnier & Calvert’s newly-designed road signage system becomes law
1967 First breathalyser
1969 First speed camera
1973 First computerised driving license issued
1975 Driving test candidates no longer required to practice hand signals
1976 Driving licenses valid until the age of 70
1982 Provisional license valid until the age of 70
1983 Front seat passengers must wear seatbelts under new law
1988 Driving tests conducted under the provisions of the Road Traffic Act 1988
1995 Pass Plus scheme introduced
1996 Official theory test introduced
2001 First theory test booked online
2002 Hazard Perception Test introduced
2003 DVLA introduces Show Me, Tell Me – requiring candidates to identify parts under the bonnet
2014 788 billion passenger kilometers travelled
2015 35.6 million licensed vehicles on the road
FINISH LINE – 2016
The DVLA trials driving tests using sat-nav and extends independent driving portion from 10 to 20 minutes
With companies like Google and RDM Group already testing their own prototypes it is predicted that there will be 10 million autonomous vehicles on the road by 2020.
Governments and manufacturers are developing alternative fuels, producing more electric vehicles, investing in wind farms, and implementing schemes to reduce pollution in urban areas.
High-end cars are being designed to communicate with other vehicles and an increasingly intelligent infrastructure, increasing safety and performance as well as streaming the supply-and-demand chain.
With more car-sharing options available and the increasing popularity of mobility services like Uber, the concept of individual car ownership is set to become less and less relevant.
Revisions to the driving test
Proposed changes include raising the age at which drivers must declare that they are fit to drive from 70 to 75, scrapping certain manoeuvres and relying more heavily on satellite-navigation.
These are just a few of the new aspects of driving facing Britain’s older drivers over the next few years. While change can be daunting, it is important to remember that most of the latest changes are designed to dramatically improve the driving experience – improving road safety, limiting congestion, giving us more freedom and mobility and reducing our collective carbon footprint.
Eligibility for driving should always be taken seriously and honest and regular self-assessment is absolutely key. Keeping an open dialogue with friends, relatives, and health practitioners can also be extremely helpful in ensuring older drivers stay both informed and safe.
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