After Prince Philip's car crash, what are the rules for Britain's older drivers?

David Harding
Contributor
The Duke pictured behind the wheel last summer (PA)

The Duke of Edinburgh’s car crash at the age of 97 has prompted debate around the safety of older drivers.

Prince Philip’s Land Rover collided with a Kia car, driven by a 28-year-old woman, close to the Sandringham Estate.

The Prince was left ‘very shocked’ and the woman suffered cuts to her knee while a passenger travelling with her sustained a broken wrist.

These are the rules around driving in your old age.

Is there an age limit for drivers in the UK?

When motorists reach the age of 70 they are required to renew their licence, and must do so every three years thereafter.

However, there is no driving test or medical examination, and it is down to drivers to declare whether or not they are fit to drive.

What about eyesight?

The aftermath of the crash close to Sandringham (Picture: KLFM 96.7)

The only mandatory examination of vision takes place during the inital practical test, when learners must read a number plate from 20 metres.

Once someone has obtained their licence, it is up to them to tell the DVLA if they have a problem with their eyesight.

One road safety charity, Brake, has called for a vision test to be required at least every 10 years when drivers renew their licence photocard.

Does the Duke drive often?

The Duke was said to be ‘very shocked’ by the crash (PA)

Philip is no stranger to the driving seat, and has previously been seen with very famous passengers in a Range Rover.

He showed former US president Barack Obama and his wife Michelle the personal touch when he drove them and the Queen to Windsor Castle after the presidential helicopter Marine One had landed close to the monarch’s Berkshire home during their visit to the UK in April 2016.

Who are more dangerous – older or younger drivers?

Debris left after the crash (PA)

AA president Edmund King said GP and family advice is more significant than a person’s age when it comes to how long someone should keep driving.

Mr King said: “We wish the Duke of Edinburgh well. Many commentators use high-profile car crashes involving elderly drivers as a reason to call for bans or restrictions on older drivers.

“If driving restrictions based on age and safety were introduced we would be more likely to restrict young drivers rather than older drivers.

“Young, predominantly male, drivers are much more likely to crash within six months of passing their test than older drivers within six months of hanging up their keys.’

How many people over 90 still drive?

Britain’s older drivers by numbers (PA)

Figures from the DVLA in November showed 110,790 people aged 90 or over still held driving licences.

There were 314 licence holders aged at least 100. The oldest were four people aged 107.

What advice is there for OAPs who give up driving?

Age UK said stopping driving does not have to mean the end of independence or mobility.

The charity said on its website: “You may feel worried about the costs of giving up driving and having to pay for public transport, but if you add up the amount you spend on car tax, insurance, fuel and maintenance you may find that using alternatives work out to be less expensive than running a car.”

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