Once one’s motor skills or confidence behind the wheel starts to decline, it’s not worth the risk.
Once one’s motor skills or confidence behind the wheel starts to decline, it’s not worth the risk. Thinkstock

OUR SAY: Put an age limit on holding a driver's licence

THERE should be an age limit when it comes to driving.

 Sixteen is too young. It works at the other end too.

I know - it's vital for independence and yes, a driver in their 20s can cause a crash, not just teens or elderly drivers.

A Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety analysis of crashes in Queensland between 2004 and 2009 found that drivers in their 90s were just as likely as those in their early 20s to be involved in a car crash, making them a high-risk group.

Crashes involving older drivers also tended to be more severe and they were more likely to be at fault and on medications at the time.

Older drivers are smart people who do not deliberately put other people's lives at risk.

But the deteriorating cognitive and physical abilities of older people contribute to crashes, as  does some medications.

Last year research presented at the Royal Australasian College of Surgeons' annual scientific congress showed that fatal and serious accidents involving older drivers were on the rise.

Surgeon Gratian Punch analysed data from the Bureau of Infrastructure, Transport and Regional Economics between 2007 and 2018, suspecting an increase in fatal crashes involving older drivers.

He found that road fatalities for drivers aged between 65 and 74 had increased nationally by 2.3 per cent each year since 2007.

That was the only age group that saw an increase in the death rate or fatal car crash data in that period.

He also discovered a nine per cent increase in road-related hospitalisations for drivers aged 65 and older, compared to 1.8 per cent for younger drivers.

For elderly drivers, I can only see one solution - hand that licence in.

Should there be an age limit on holding your licence?

This poll ended on 30 June 2019.

Current Results

Yes

57%

No

42%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.


As to what the age limit should be, it's hard to say - maybe 75, maybe 80.

Once one's motor skills or confidence behind the wheel starts to decline, it's not worth the risk.

I've seen an elderly woman with an impeccable driving record face court after she got confused behind the wheel and struck a man, who died at the scene.

His daughter held him in her arms while he died.

Last year a former teacher, Miriam Grace Paton, 86, reversed into a young girl at a Nambour shopping centre car park.

Indie, 6, was killed.

Ms Paton was admitted to hospital two days after the crash suffering a spinal injury and later developed pneumonia.

Before she died she told her husband, "I killed a child and I don't want to live anymore".

We do need better, affordable public transport to ensure elderly people can continue to be social, do the shopping and get to events.

But we also need to stop the carnage on our roads.

Instead of leaving it up to the individual, why not do some research and determine the best age to stop driving?

It will save lives.