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On the road

Most older motorists believe drivers aged over 70 should take refresher courses, the RAC recently claimed.

No less than 84 per cent of the 1,150 drivers polled backed refresher courses,  reports the motoring organisation.

In many respects this is not surprising. When on the road, the driving skills of the motorists around us has a huge impact on our own safety, and the passage of the years can affect reaction speed, senses and overall confidence.

To quote Neil Greig, director of Policy and Research at the Institute of Advanced Motorists: “With ever growing numbers of older drivers looking to stay safe and maintain independence, it is encouraging to see that there is a high degree of support for refresher courses.”

If introduced, refresher courses would be likely to focus on the more challenging driving environments, such as wintry conditions, night time, motorways and dual carriageways.

Some older drivers may find that they struggle. A regular standby feature of the motoring press is ‘experienced driver retakes driving test….and fails’.

They always fail. Just today, the Guardian features an article by 68-year-old journalist Michele Hanson. After driving for 47 years, she retakes her test and is judged to have made no less than three serious faults. Although her decades of driving mean she is no danger of losing her license, the veteran journalist concludes by wondering whether refreshers only for those in their 70s are really fair.

“Why not every 10 years for everyone?”, she asks.


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