23 Sep 2007.
For immediate release.

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Target Bad Drivers, Not The Elderly or The Young
Ageism Fad Shows Desperation Over Failing Safety Policy

Based on a claim that 'Elderly' drivers are three times more likely to crash, a silly government quango is promoting a "new test at 70 to stay on the road". Some 3,000,000 drivers would be affected.
 
The ABD believes that this latest threat is based on incompetent and incomplete research, similar to that which claimed that "one third of accidents were caused by speed". As we all know, that was untrue, with the DfT forced to withdraw it and substitute 7%, which is probably true.
 
It was only recently that we heard of mooted attacks on young drivers by the authorities. One has to ask: "Have they given up trying to cut accidents and instead turned to reducing the number of drivers in order to improve their abysmal record on road death figures — a situation caused by their total lack of understanding of accident causation?"
 
ABD Chairman Brian Gregory said:
"Mass retesting aimed randomly at sectors of drivers is not the way to go. It must be remembered that the great majority of the 3,000,000 older motorists are safe, experienced and able drivers. Many elderly people have disabilities which makes their car essential to them. They should be encouraged to be aware of the dangers of failing faculties but should not be subject to blanket testing. Forcing them en masse onto public transport just will not do."
ABD spokesman Nigel Humphries said:
"The government are missing the target here. There would be a strong argument for targeted retraining aimed at drivers of any age whose driving shows clear deficiencies. These could be drivers who have been involved in crashes or those spotted by trained traffic officers (who could be given the powers to recommend training). Experienced drivers see such drivers every day who are clearly unaware of what is going on around them and the effects of their driving upon others."
Such courses should run along similar lines to the assessment and advice courses offered by the Institute of Advanced Motorists, and via schemes such as "Sage" run by Wiltshire County Council. Rather than just retesting novice driving skills, programmes should concentrate specifically on hazard awareness and anticipation skill building.
 
There are also some excellent schemes in the US where elderly drivers who are no longer competent to drive safely can exchange their car for vouchers entitling them to use of a community taxi service.
 
Unfortunately if the government are involved it is more likely they would concentrate pointlessly on compliance with numerical speed values and CO2 reduction, and on arbitrary reaction times shown by older people at unfamiliar test centres miles from their homes. After failing an inappropriate and irrelevant test, they would be dumped back in their homes to become a premature burden on social services and relatives.

 

 
 
NOTES FOR EDITORS
 
The Times — Drivers face new test at 70 to stay on road

 
 
Notes for Editors about the ABD