County count of elderly drivers

THERE are now more than 6,000 drivers over the age of 80 in Northumberland, new figures have revealed.

The information was obtained by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) following a freedom of information request to the DVLA at the end of January.

The list shows 1.01million people more than 80 years old hold a driving licence across the country, with 6,049 of them coming from Northumberland.

Other DVLA figures asked for by the IAM show that the drivers are generally safer than some of their more youthful counterparts.

The rate of deaths and serious injuries per thousand licence holders for ages 20 to 24 is 0.45 compared to 0.33 for drivers 80 and over.

However, the older age group is more likely to suffer serious injuries in a car crash.

IAM 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.”